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Posted: Sep 24, 2009  12:29

Paradise Valley Fire District - Where Do We Go From Here?


As a taxpayer living in the Paradise Valley fire District, I would like to voice some concerns I have about the way our finances are being handled.

First, the article in the Bonners Ferry Herald dated August 27, 2009 Commissioner Fred Marek quoted the amount a homeowner with a net property value of $155,000 (the amount used to give examples to the public throughout the process of becoming a district) would pay would be $64 per year. This seemed off, so I figured the rate of the new budget to be 0.00127 (using property values given for the area and the submitted budget). I came up with a very different amount. The taxes paid on a property of that value at the rate of 0.00127 came to $196.85 per year, more than three times what Mr. Marek had stated they would be. Since this was such a big difference, I contacted Glenda Poston, Boundary County Auditor, and she came up with the same figures I was using. This is a pretty big discrepancy.

Secondly, the voters in the district voted on a budget of $112,163.32. There was a picture in Boundary Digest on October 22, 2008, showing volunteer Chief Jock Johnson, with an article claiming the district would be taxing at a rate of 0.0001004872, with the total amount collected from taxpayers being $112,162.32. Mr. Johnson went on to state in the article that this would generate enough revenue to buy or update new trucks, equipment, etc. What changed?

In the first budget submitted to the county, published in the Herald on August 6, 2009, the amount was $246,300, 120% more than what was submitted to the voters for approval. In a planning meeting with the Boundary County Commissioners on September 8, 2009, public records show that Jock Johnson stated he believed that "…if the fire department knew that they weren't going to get fifty percent of what they asked for they should have asked for fifty percent more from the members." Is that what these two over-inflated budgets have been? An attempt to get what he wants?

So where do we go from here?

We are stuck with this $151,723 budget for this year. But in November, we have the power to vote in a new board of commissioners. If you are concerned and live in the Paradise Valley/Pleasant Valley/Cow Creek area, please consider joining the board and representing your neighbors and friends. The deadline to submit an application to be on the ballot is September 25th, so time is running out. Applications can be picked up at the Boundary County Courthouse in the Auditor's office.

Cara Urbaniak


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