Voters say no to Wescott tax increase: Increase would have funded more firefighters

Lisa Collacott Contributing writer

A tax increase that would have allowed the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District to hire more firefighters failed among voters.

The mill levy override asked for an increase of four additional mills that would have brought the mill levy to a total of 11 mills and increased taxes by $982,567 annually but voters in the district voted against it by 469 votes. As of Nov. 6, unofficial results showed that 3,275 citizens voted against the MLO and 2,806 were in favor of it.

Chief Vinnie Burns said he was disappointed but said, “We'll keep plugging along. We'll do the best we can with what we have.”

The district does not plan to close any fire stations or lay off staff however they won't be able to hire the additional firefighters they needed.

“The sole purpose (of the tax increase) was to add firefighters,” Burns said.

If the MLO would have passed the district was also planning to purchase wild land mitigation equipment and uniforms and gear for the firefighters.

“I guess we'll go back to the drawing board,” Burns said, adding it was highly unlikely the district will pursue another mill levy next year.