Rich Harter Endorsed by Fire Departments and EMS Services
Rich Harter, who is running for Bonner county commissioner, district 3 has been endorsed by several rural fire departments and EMS services. It should come as no surprise considering Harter’s long time service as a first responder in the county and the former Fire Chief of the city of Clark Fork.
Harter recently released a video on his facebook page, detailing some of the issues surrounding county distribution of funds collected from city taxes, intended for emergency services.
Harter’s concern with the current policy is the disparity between what small communities contribute and what they actually receive in return from their taxes.
According to Harter’s video, the rural communities receive less than 25% of the money they contribute to the system. Harter contends that “People should expect the majority of their taxes to support their own local community.” In Harter’s estimation, the distribution of funds needs to be examined to ensure an equitable return to the taxpayer.
Spencer Newton, Schweitzer Fire Chief, is one of the longtime leaders in the fire service who endorses Harter.
“I fully support Rich Harter for county commissioner because he has a realistic grasp on the needs and challenges of rural Fire and EMS agencies in Bonner County.”
Harter admits that the differences in distribution of monies isn’t completely without some compromise. According to him the rural communities rely heavily on services provided within the county such as: dispatch services and Paramedics.
But, he says, “I can’t readily see a 75% withholding of tax money for what we receive in cooperative assistance. That is what I want to invest some time on and get the maximum amount back to those rural areas.”
Harter went on to detail some of the ways the maximum return of funds could benefit first responders:
“They pay for training, upgraded equipment and technology that only helps to protect both the responder and the patient. It can’t be any more worthwhile to maximize the return.”