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Special election held to fund fire department in north Bannock County

An emergency special election is underway to provide funding for a fire department in north Bannock County.

The area is currently being served by Chubbuck’s fire departments, but as of Oct. 1, the contract with the city will expire.

“Chubbucks city and their services are growing. Their services are getting busier and busier, so they feel like they can’t provide adequate services to us anymore,” said Roy Allen, a commissioner of the North Bannock County Fire District.

As a result, people outside of Pocatello and Chubbuck city limits will no longer have organized protection from possible fires.

That’s why the North Bannock County Fire Protection District is conducting an emergency special election to pass a levy, which would fund a fire department for the area no longer covered by the city.

The levy would tax homeowners in the area $240 per $100,000 of their property worth. That would be a one time payment a year for 2020-2021.

Currently, a tax exists for those same homeowners of $56 per $100,000, but the temporary tax hike would fund a facility, equipment and personnel training for the new station.

As of now, the fire district doesn’t have anything they need to provide fire protection to the thousands of homes that need it.

“We don’t own any equipment, we don’t have any firefighters, we don’t have a station, we don’t have any equipment at all, and were going to have to start from scratch,” Allen said.

They’re dipping into reserve funding to start gathering the equipment, but eventually, that money will run out.

“We’re holding the emergency election so that if it passes, they can get the funding before November of next year,” said Julie Hancock, the Bannock County elections administrator.

Early voting for the special election continues through Friday. Regular voting will be Aug. 6 and votes will be counted that evening.

“I would think that people would want to participate in the process, and we hope they do,” Hancock said.

Bannock County also offers curbside voting for those who have difficulty getting out of their cars. Those who aren’t registered yet can do same-day registration and voting. To find out where to vote, click here.

The fire district is hosting a meeting at the Red Lion Hotel in Pocatello at 7 p.m. Thursday.

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