The Southern Boone Fire Protection District is looking for voters to approve the 12-cent per $100 of assessed value tax increase for the currently all-volunteer fire department on the April 2 ballot.

The cost of the tax increase to a homeowner with $150,000 of assessed value would be $32.20 per year.

The rise of growth within the district has lead to local volunteer firefighters responding to more than 800 calls in 2018. That is an average of 2.2 calls per day.

If approved, additional funding would go towards paying the volunteers in the fire department. The board advised having a paid fire chief, part-time assistant chief, hire clerical help, and a part-time maintenance person.

The department would also institute a sign-up for a 24-hour shift, paid at $100 per shift. During which the individual would agree to respond to all emergency calls. “We want at least two firefighters to respond to each emergency call,” said Jim Cunningham fire board member.

“The cost of the paid on-call system would be about $73,000 per year. Considering that it would take over 10 times that amount to hire enough firefighters to be available 24-hours a day, seven days a week, we believe this is the best alternative,” said Brandon Glascok fire board member.

Fire Board Election

The April 2 ballot will also include elections for the Protection District Board.

Two seats are contested by five candidates: Alicia Ozenberger, Shelley Martin, Liz Heyen, (all profiled in last week’s Journal); Sam Scheulen and incumbent Jim Cunningham.

~ See today’s Journal for details ~

By Carson Blake