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Northern Lakes Fire District Levy Vote May 21st

Please VOTE YES for Northern Lakes Fire District on May 21st

Northern Lakes Fire District Levy Vote May 21st
(photo: Facebook)

Northern Lakes Fire District Levy Vote May 21st

Imagine you’re relaxing at home and you’re suddenly experiencing chest pain like you’ve never felt. You know enough to suspect you’re having a heart attack so you dial 911 and tell the dispatcher your problem. She tells you the fire department paramedics will be responding. What she doesn’t tell you is that it will probably take about 11+ minutes for the paramedics to arrive because you live in the Garwood district or further north of there. Worse yet, you suddenly collapse because your heart has stopped beating. Your loved ones are there with you and begin CPR but how long will they be able to keep that up, knowing that brain damage can occur within 4-6 minutes of your heart stopping and their CPR isn’t effective?

Imagine you’re relaxing at home when your neighbor starts banging on your front door, yelling that your car is on fire and it’s parked right next to your garage. The fire is too intense to be affected by the garden hose you spray on it and now the garage siding is starting to smoke. You’ve called 911 and the dispatcher has told you the fire engines have been dispatched. What he doesn’t tell you is that the response time will be about 11+ unless it is 5 PM on a Friday afternoon and then it could be longer because you live in the Garwood district or further north of there.

What if the currently empty fire station on Hudlow and Garwood had a fully manned engine company that could respond to either of these emergencies? Imagine the greatly shortened response time our emergency personnel would have for your emergency!

The fire department’s own statistics show that the average response time for their “primary response area” for the first arriving engine company from Station 1 in Hayden is 5 minutes, 10 seconds, Station 2 in Rathdrum is 4 minutes, 50 seconds and to the area for the proposed station in Garwood, on Hudlow, is 11 minutes, 45 seconds

“Ah, but I don’t live in the Garwood district or north of there. I live right here in Hayden, just down the road from the fire station. Why should I be concerned? Why should I vote in favor of this levy?” You should be concerned because Station 1 on Hayden is the busiest station for the Northern Lakes Fire Department and their firefighters could well be on a fire or medical call when you need them. Who ya gonna call now? The station in Rathdrum could/would respond but what’s their response time, especially if they’re stuck at the railroad crossing? Coeur d’Alene fire could respond with mutual aid but they may also be busy with emergencies in their own city. If the station at Garwood was an active station, fully manned, then they would be able to respond to your emergency. Plus, those firefighters who work a very active station would have an on-duty relief crew, an option that isn’t available now.

Do you pay fire insurance? Do you rent? I pay fire insurance and you bet landlords certainly do. Did you know that the insurance industry rates fire departments? For many of us, our fire insurance rates are partially determined by those insurance industry ratings. Adding additional manpower and opening the station in Garwood will have a favorable impact on all of us within the Northern Lakes Fire District.

This proposed levy is strictly for hiring six (6) new firefighters. It is NOT for raises for the fire department personnel. It is NOT for buying new firefighting equipment. Improvements to the Garwood station will be paid for out of capital funds that have been saved for that specific purpose.

The bottom line? The cost of this levy for property owners is $1.72 per month, $20.64 per year per $100,000 of assessed valuation and this does not factor in exemptions you may have for that property. A property with an assessed valuation of $300,000 will have $61.92 added to the property tax. That’s some inexpensive “insurance”, if you ask me! I’ve voted “Yes” on the permanent tax levy override and I’m asking you to do the same. Remember, it could make all of the difference if it’s your emergency.

Don Bradway


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4 Comments on Northern Lakes Fire District Levy Vote May 21st

  1. Voting to tax your neighbor is NOT the neighborly thing to do. If you want 5 minute response times, you live in the city. Period. One of the trade offs for living in the country is that emergency services take longer to arrive and it is highly doubtful that staffing this station would affect the insurance rating enough to make a difference. Insurance companies are in it for profit, and rural properties in areas prone to wildfires are not profitable for them.

  2. By my count, there are 8 DIFFERENT fire districts spread out over 20+ fire stations in Kootenai County. Why? A fire is a fire is a fire. Each of these separate districts have mutual aid agreements with one another. They can and when needed, DO, act as one firefighting body. Yet no one has ever considered or studied what the pro’s and con’s would be for consolidation. Why? Could it be that none of these districts want to give up their fiefdoms? Does it make sense to be paying the salaries and benefits for 8 DIFFERENT fire chiefs and various duplicate command and support staff?

    This levy is a PERMANENT tax that has no guarantee will not become another governmental body slush fund. How do we, the taxpayer, know that the district is exercising fiscal responsibility with OUR money? In fact, I draw your attention to the Rathdrum station pictured in this story. Is there a reason it looks like a million dollar home? Is there a reason the district spent so much money on gingerbread aesthetics? How much money was wasted in the design and construction of this station that could have gone towards more firefighters and equipment? Who answers for these expenses?

    Many of us in Hayden learned this week that the Hayden Canyon development (1800+ homes, condos and apartments) located NEXT to the Garwood fire station, is about to begin. The master plan for this monstrous boondoggle calls for a sheriff substation. It DOES NOT call for a fire station. Why? Instead of hanging the entire costs to staff the Garwood station on the taxpayers, how about requiring the developers of Hayden Canyon, which will add some estimated 6,000 residents and 4,000 vehicles to a 600 acre parcel of land at the corner of Government and Lancaster, PAY for a fire station!

    I urge you to vote NO on this levy and send the NL district back to the drawing board to come up with some answers! I don’t mind paying my share of taxes for services, but only if those who TAKE my hard earned money are as responsible with it as I am!

  3. Consolidation is not a good thing. I lived where that occurred and the behemoth that the district became is no better than the individual parts. The money extracted from property owners was the same as, or more than before consolidation, with some areas paying more, and losing stations. Also, that fire district currently has a tax measure going to their voters as well. Nothing changes.
    As far as that station in Rathdrum, as I recall the giant sign out front, when it was being built said something about a bunch of the money coming from Obama’s “shovel ready projects” program.

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