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Kuna Rural Fire Department commissioners pass levy, bond resolutions to try to increase funding

Kuna
Posted at 4:13 PM, Aug 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 17:42:35-04

KUNA, Idaho — Kuna has been growing quickly and it seems more homes are being put up in the area than ever before. Because of the growth, the Kuna Rural Fire Department officials say they are having trouble effectively serving residents.

The town has just one fire station and a small amount of staff serving the entire community and they say they need more funding.

The Board of Fire commissioners for the Kuna Rural Fire District unanimously approved placing a small operating levy increase for additional firefighters and a bond for a fire station on the general election ballot.

Fire district officials say the operating levy increase would allow for more emergency personnel and the bond would help to add another new fire station to the area.

What is the cost?

For both proposals, it would be $6.79 per month ($81.45 per year) for the owner of a $346,000 home with the primary residence exemption, according to fire department officials.

Some residents again say it’s still too much money, but in a statement fire chief T.J. Lawrence said, "our community is growing, and we’re at the point where we can’t effectively serve residents with one fire station and current staffing levels."

The need for help in a growing community

According to officials, emergency call volumes have increased 72.4% in the last 10 years and overlapping calls for emergencies happen almost 25% of the time.

In 2021 ,the fire district halted transporting patients to hospitals because it took emergency responders out of the service area for extended periods, increasing response times. Ada County Paramedics have been helping by offering transport services out of the Kuna Fire Station, but even with the extra help, there are times when overlapping calls occur and there are no firefighters to send to calls for help.

“The bottom line is that population growth and call volume increases are straining our resources,” Lawrence said. “We went back and developed a solution to improve safety for community members at a lower out-of-pocket cost for taxpayers. I look forward to speaking with community members about this important issue.”