Following much discussion by members of the Wasatch County Council concerning whether to pass the Wasatch County Fire District’s 2014 budget, which includes a 76.69% tax increase of the fire tax portion of the county tax bill, the Wasatch County Council voted in a split vote (4-3) to approve the budget.
According to Wasatch County Councilman and Fire Board Chairman Steve Capson, the rate increase, which amounts to approximately $20-$25 on an “average” home in Wasatch County, is going to fund capital projects and repair/replace equipment. “The average age of our front line fare apparatus is over 20 years old.” said Councilman Capson. “A couple of pumper trucks are approaching 40 years old.”
Fire Chief Ernie Giles gave an empassioned plea to the Council to vote in favor of the increase citing safety issues for both fire fighters and citizens with substandard equipment. “Twenty to thirty dollars per house per year that we are asking, and even at that, it’ll take 10 – 15 years to catch up [and replace the aging equipment,]” said Chief Giles. “I’d like to ask the board to support the firemen and support the citizens of Wasatch County – like we have done for 90 years. We have done with so little for so long that we need your help.”
Giles also reminded the audience that all financials, tax increase and budgeting information can be found on their web site: https://wasatchcountyfire.com.
Four members of the Council voted in favor of passing the 2014 budget as written (Capson, Jay Price, Greg McPhie, Kipp Bangerter) with three councilmen voting against the budget (Kendall Crittenden, Steve Farrell and Mike Kohler).