Friday, September 30, 2011

In Bellevue, high stakes in bond vote

City seeks approval of tax increase to improve Fire Department


By TONY EVANS
Express Staff Writer

Firefighters work on the scene of a house fire in Bellevue earlier this year. Photo by Mountain Express

Bellevue voters will decide on Nov. 8 if they are willing to pay higher property taxes in the city for 20 years to fund $375,000 in improvements to the Bellevue Fire Department.

Passage of the bond election would allow the city to buy a $300,000 "pumper" fire truck, spend $65,000 for land acquisition and buy $10,000 worth of equipment. The bond—which would raise taxes $1.40 per month per $100,000 of property valuation—requires support from at least two-thirds of voters.

The city recently opted out of a $46,000 south-valley fire department consolidation study paid for by the city of Hailey and the Wood River Fire Protection District.

The study concluded with recommendations for south-valley fire departments to consolidate to save money and increase efficiencies, but Mayor Chris Koch said raising taxes to beef up the Bellevue Fire Department is preferable. He said consolidation would cost Bellevue taxpayers more than the bond.

"Some of the financial numbers in the study were wrong," Koch stated in an email to the Idaho Mountain Express. "When the correct numbers are plugged in, it changes the end result. That result was a dramatic increase in fees/taxes to the residents."

Koch said the City Council took the fire consolidation study very seriously and looked at all the recommendations.

"With this bond, we will be able to move forward with some of those recommendations," he said. "With all the aging infrastructure and deficient equipment, we as a mayor and council are always looking at ways to improve [the Bellevue Fire Department].

Koch said the bond initiative was placed on the fall election ballot by the City Council after numerous public meetings, including a special town hall meeting on May 9.

"I appreciate our citizens' input and support at these meetings," Koch wrote in a prepared statement that he read during a council meeting on Thursday, Sept. 22. "It was clearly heard that the citizens supported the local service being provided by the Bellevue Fire Department, supported expanding the department as needed with a facility and equipment under the leadership of the City Council and mayor of Bellevue, and would support the costs to do so."

Councilman Larry Plott said information regarding the possible purchase of land to expand or replace the Fire Department building would be forthcoming.

Tony Evans: tevans@mtexpress.com




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2020 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.