Voters to Decide on Millions for Boone County Fire District

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COLUMBIA - People living in the Boone County Fire Protection District will have the opportunity to vote on a new bond issue Tuesday.

The proposed $14 million bond would be paid through an increase of 25 cents per $100 of assessed value of personal property and real estate property over 20 years. The first 10 years of taxes would be used to pay for new fire vehicles.

Half of the money would go toward facilities and the other half would go to apparatus (usually trucks) and equipment. The bond issue money would replace one station and add a new one by Route B.

The acquisitions and additions proposed are seven new fire engines, three new tankers, three new brush trucks, two new rescue squads, one new station and replacement station, 11 station expansions, one land acquisition, and new portable radios for all stations. 

Boon County Battalion Chief Gale Blomenkamp said the bond's passage is important because many of the district's current apparatus are too old and difficult to repair. 

"We've reached a point where our maintenance costs are constantly rising. We have fire trucks in service today that are 20 to 30 years old and the average lifespan for a fire truck is about 20 years. Those are becoming more and more difficult to find replacement parts for and to keep functioning on the roadway," Blomenkamp said.

Blomenkamp said the price of fire trucks has increased as well and that replacing these trucks is the most important need for the money. 

Blomenkamp said citizens should support the bond issue because everyone in the community will benefit from it, not just people in the fire district. 

"It affects every citizen within our fire jurisdiction. Every one of our 14 fire stations either sees refurb to their facilities or new apparatuses in addition to their facilities. So every bond voter out there will see this money go into effect in their community," he said.

The last fire district bond issue was passed in 1998. Blomenkamp said he expects there to be some opposition to the bond, but he believes most citizens in the district support the bond issue. 

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