Gypsum Fire to seek tax increase

Derek Franz

GYPSUM — The Gypsum Fire Protection District is asking voters to approve a temporary 3.5 mill levy increase in the November election.

The question will go to voters through Eagle County’s mail-in ballot.

The district’s current mill levy is 6.833. If approved, the temporary increase of 3.5 mills would expire after six years. In tax dollars, that would increase the monthly property tax on a $250,000 home by $7.30. Under state law, commercial property owners would pay almost three times as much.

“This is to make up for the drop in property values — we lost 23 percent from this year’s budget,” Chief Dave Vroman told the Gypsum Town Council on Tuesday. “We’re asking for this increase so that we don’t have to cut service levels.”

The district asked voters to approve a 2 mill levy increase last year and was turned down.

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Council member Beric Christiansen expressed concern about the proposed increase.

“An increase of 3.5 mills would take us to a total of 10.333 mills,” he said. “We’re going from the lowest rate to one of the highest.”

According to a list Vroman provided that compared eight neighboring communities’ mill levies and populations, Greater Eagle Fire Protection District is the only one at 10 mills, with a district population of about 6,750. The average mill levy of all eight districts is 8.695 and the average population is 8,900.

Gypsum Fire Protection District’s population is currently about 6,600. That might seem like a high price for a small population, but the district covers 450 square miles between Eagle and Garfield counties, so it is one of the larger districts in terms of the amount of land it covers.

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