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Fire district won’t seek recount

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The Central Polk County Fire Protection District likely won’t pursue a recount of votes from the Tuesday, April 6, municipal election that saw the district’s proposed tax increase tie at 97 votes. 

Polk County Clerk Bobbi Lear previously told the BH-FP a tie means the measure fails. It would have added an additional 30 cents per $100 assessed valuation to the district’s current tax, which is also about 30 cents, and was set in 2013.

“I don’t feel (a recount is) in the best interest of the district,” fire district board chair Sammy Bowden said Thursday, April 15. “It’s probably not going to turn up anything different.”

Bowden said the district’s board has discussed doing more to educate voters in the district and then seeking to put the item on the ballot in the next countywide election. 

He previously told the BH-FP board members voted to place the question on the ballot because additional funding is needed to cover the cost of the district’s growing needs due to the county’s increasing population and the district’s incorporation of the Polk Rural Fire Department in 2018. 

“We have outgrown our tax,” he previously said. “We felt at this point we need to upgrade the tax. The equipment is getting more expensive. The standards continue to get higher, and we’ve grown in area.”

Bowden said the additional funding would have helped the district purchase upgraded and newer equipment, pay for upkeep on its current equipment and eventually hire personnel “for at least daytime service, if not 24-hour service.”

He reiterated Thursday the importance of paying personnel for daytime service. 

“That’s one of the bigger things we were looking for is, sooner than later, putting a staff member on shift during the day,” he said. “It’s hard to find manpower during the day because our volunteers work other jobs.”

Bowden said, preferably, at least two firefighters would be on shift and ready to respond. 

Newer equipment also remains a priority, he said. The district’s ladder truck is 25 to 30 years old, and they’ve had trouble finding parts for it. 

“We’d really just love to have people come to our public board meetings, so they can ask us questions about why this funding is important,” Bowden said. 

Board meetings are 6:30 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month at the CPCFPD station at 1039 Rt. B, just off Mo. 83 north of Bolivar.

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