The Gypsum Fire Protection District recently sent out its own ballot asking voters for a mill levy increase of 2 mills.
The question was sent out separately from the Eagle County ballot because of a missed deadline.
"Voters can return the fire district ballot to a drop box at the station at any time, since it is staffed 24/7, or they can mail the ballots," said Gypsum Fire District Chief Dave Vroman. "We're trying to make it as easy as possible."
The Gypsum fire station is at 511 Second St. and can be reached at 524-7101.
If approved, the increase will bump the current mill levy of 6.8 mills to 8.8 mills.
"This is to make up for the 32 percent reduction in property values so we don't have to lay anybody off or cut services," Vroman said.
The pro statement included with the ballot question notes that another 15 percent reduction in property values is anticipated in 2014.
The con statement included with the ballot warns that the measure is a permanent property tax increase, with no promise of the mill levy being reduced if and when property values rise again.
Vroman said the district has a history of maintaining service levels in spite of drops in property tax revenues and has cut its mill levy when revenues increase.
"This district started in 1982 at 13.8 mills," he said.
The Gypsum Fire Protection District currently has one staff station and two volunteer houses. There are 11 paid firefighters and 40 volunteers to maintain a minimum crew of four (two staff and two volunteer members) on duty at all times. The district covers a total of 450 square miles between Eagle and Garfield counties.
The ballot reads:
"SHALL GYPSUM FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT TAXES BE INCREASED $260,775 ANNUALLY, OR BY SUCH AMOUNT AS MAY BE RAISED BY THE IMPOSITION OF AN ADDITIONAL AD VALOREM PROPERTY TAX RATE OF UP TO 2.000 MILLS FOR GENERAL OPERATING PURPOSES INCLUDING PROVIDING FIRE PROTECTION AND EMERGENCY SERVICES, RESULTING IN A TOTAL DISTRICT MILL LEVY RATE, EXCLUSIVE OF REFUNDS, ABATEMENTS, OR DEBT SERVICE, NOT TO EXCEED 8.833 MILLS, COMMENCING JANUARY 1, 2013, AND CONTINUING THEREAFTER; AND SHALL THE DISTRICT BE AUTHORIZED TO COLLECT, RETAIN AND SPEND ALL TAX REVENUE COLLECTED FROM SUCH TOTAL PROPERTY TAX RATE AND ALL OTHER REVENUE RECEIVED FROM ANY SOURCE, COMMENCING JANUARY 1, 2013, AND CONTINUING THEREAFTER, AS A VOTER-APPROVED REVENUE CHANGE, OFFSET AND EXCEPTION TO THE LIMITS WHICH WOULD OTHERWISE APPLY UNDER TABOR (ARTICLE X, SECTION 20 OF THE COLORADO CONSTITUTION) OR ANY OTHER LAW AS A PERMANENT WAIVER OF THE 5.5% LIMITATION UNDER SECTION 29-1-301, C.R.S.?"