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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of April 10 - 16 , 2002


Rural fire districtís 
$1 million bond 
request on ballot

Express Staff Writer

The Ketchum Rural Fire District is preparing for an upgrade and will ask voters May 28 to approve a $1 million bond to make planned improvements possible.

The Ketchum Rural Fire Districtís Greenhorn Gulch fire station will be the primary recipient of a $1 million bond, if the bond is approved by voters May 28. The $1 million would pay for fire fighter housing, a new engine, garage facilities and landscaping. Express photo by Willy Cook

"Itís part of us being on the cutting edge," rural fire district Chief Tom Johnson said. "We donít want to be behind the curve when it comes to fire protection."

The Ketchum Rural Fire District provides fire protection for all areas in north Blaine County, not including the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley or the area beyond Galena Summit. The southern boundary includes the Heatherlands subdivision.

Bond participants would include anyone living in, and therefore serviced by, the district.

If approved, the bond will be used for expanded and improved fire fighting facilities, housing and landscaping at the Greenhorn Gulch Fire Station and for improved landscaping at the Griffin Butte Fire Station, north of Ketchum.

The majority of the funds would be used at Greenhorn.

The greenhorn proposal includes building housing for up to six people as well as garage and facility improvements. It would also include purchase of an urban interface fire engine capable of fighting fires more efficiently in many of the rural areas the district serves.

The Griffin Butte station has an urban interface fire engine and a 3,000-gallon water tanker. It has two, two-bedroom firefighter units.

The Greenhorn station has a brush truck, a 3,000-gallon water tanker and two one-bedroom apartments.

"With more firefighters living at the Greenhorn station, the district will be able to respond with up to five firefighters on an initial fire call," Johnson said. "This will improve safety to our firefighters and allow an aggressive rescue and fire attack."

Johnson is quick to point out that taxes would not actually increase residentsí bond mil levy rates.

The district retired a $750,000 bond this year, and, because there are now more residents and higher property valuation in the district, the per-property levy on the proposed $1 million bond would be approximately the same if repaid over 13 years.

For example, if your home is assessed at $250,000, you will continue to pay approximately $17 per year, or about $1.41 per month.

"We think we run a tight ship, and we think we have shown good fiduciary responsibility," Johnson said.

The polls will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Ketchum City Hall on May 28, Idahoís primary election day. Voting for or against the fire district bond will require that rural fire district residents go the polls in Ketchum in addition to their regular county voting precincts.

Johnson said Ketchum City Hall was chosen because it is central to the district. City of Ketchum voters will not be allowed to participate in the election.


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.