Gypsum Fire District tax funding passes by large margin | VailDaily.com

Gypsum Fire District tax funding passes by large margin

Gypsum firefighter Ben Park is back under a tanker truck to make more repairs, trying to keep it going as long as possible in the face of dwindling funding. Gypsum voters went to the polls Tuesday and approved the Gypsum Fire District's tax increase request by a 2-1 margin.
Randy Wyrick|randy@vaildaily.com |

Gypsum Fire District tax increase

Ballot Issue A

• Yes: 765 votes

• No: 364 votes

GYPSUM — The third time was the charm for the Gypsum Fire District’s tax proposal.

Gypsum voters approved the proposed property tax increase by a 2-1 margin, bringing desperately needed cash to their local fire district.

This was the fire district’s third run at a tax increase in recent years. It lost by a 2-1 margin in 2012 and by 70 votes in 2013.

“Thank you to the community for believing in us. Now we can get to work and be the department they want us to be,” said Chief Justin Kirkland.

The tax increase will mean another $400,000 a year, based on $84 a year in additional property taxes on a $300,000 home. However, that money doesn’t arrive until next year.

“We still have to be very responsible. We’re not building anything new. We’re fixing what we have and moving forward,” Kirkland said. “This election was never about expansion.”

Ironically, Gypsum firefighters spent Tuesday afternoon repairing a tanker truck they had fixed a couple days prior, and they will probably fix it again in a couple more days.

“We’ll still have to rely on future growth and be conservative,” Kirkland said.

When the recession hit, it hit Gypsum harder than any local community. The fire district runs entirely on property taxes, and property values dropped 53 percent in 2010 and 2011. Since the state constitution caps the rate of increase for property taxes, only a fraction of that lost revenue has been recovered.

Kirkland was encouraged that other agencies also won their funding elections.

“We are a system. All the agencies work together and rely on each other. For us to work together properly, we all have to be successful,” he said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.