We said it last year and we'll say it again: When it comes to a fire at your house it's all about response time. Last year, we recommended a yes vote for the Hampshire Fire Protection District to receive extra taxpayer funds and our position hasn't changed.
The district is asking voters for permission to levy a 0.1 percent tax for an emergency and rescue fund. It would generate an additional $217,000 annually. Fire officials say the extra money would be used to fund aging equipment/vehicle replacements and increase the number of firefighters on duty at any given time from four to five. The district responded to 1,221 calls in 2017, a 4 percent increase from the year before.
Last year the district asked for two increases totaling an extra $167 annually for a taxpayer with a home valued at $200,000. This time the district is asking for an increase of $67. Additionally, a portion of the extra money wouldn't be used to hire more firefighters, but simply increase the hours for part-timers to cover more shifts and allow them to more easily respond to multiple calls at once. And there were nearly 200 multiple calls last year.
This tax increase seems inherently reasonable, and we strongly advocate a yes vote from taxpayers.