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Firefighters union drumming up support for Kalispell's public safety levy

by CARL FOSTER
Daily Inter Lake | February 23, 2024 12:00 AM

The Kalispell Firefighters Association, International Association of Fire Fighters Local 547, is holding a Feb. 24 event at Black Rifle Coffee Company at 10 a.m. to drum up support for the city’s proposed public safety levy.

The “Day of Action” will be aimed at informing residents about the March 19 mail-in election, which will feature the levy question. The ballot will ask voters to authorize the city to levy an additional 60.9 mills annually to cover the cost of expanding the rosters of both the Fire and Police departments as well as capital improvements, like erecting a new fire station on Farm to Market Road. 

Emergency call volumes have increased in recent years, according to an independent audit of the two departments Currently, nearly one in four calls cannot be addressed immediately as all Kalispell firefighters and paramedics are already responding to other 911 calls.

The levy will be paid through property taxes, coming out to about $369 a year on a home valued at $450,000, for example, and is expected to draw $4.6 million in its first year.

The purchase of an ambulance and a new fire engine for the Fire Department would also be covered by the revenue, city officials have said.

Free coffee and training for door-to-door outreach is at 10 a.m., followed by an hour of visiting neighborhoods and informing the public at 11 a.m.

Reporter Carl Foster can be reached at 758-4407 or cfoster@dailyinterlake.com.