After giving to the community for many years through service, the Lovell Volunteer Fire Dept. and Fire Protection District No. 1 are now giving back to their community monetarily by lowering the tax that landowners pay for fire protection.
Fire Chief Jim Minchow and Captain Bob Mangus announced this week that, when the fire district’s next fiscal year begins on July 1, the mill levy for the rural fire district will fall by one mill – from three mills to two.
“There are no big projects we foresee in the future, so we’re lowering it to two mills,” Minchow said, noting that the fire board made the decision to lower the mill levy after the 2012-13 fiscal year ends on June 30.
“It’s an opportunity to take the people who pay taxes and give them a little break,” Mangus added. “Jim has done a good job of building things up over the years, and the board supports his decisions.
“We had top-notch equipment and a top-notch building, and it’s time to give taxpayers a break. The board has been really good. Any decision we’ve made, the board has supported us.”
Members of the fire board are Chad Petrich, Keith Grant and Mike Leonhardt.
“It took 20 years to build it up, but I don’t think you could have a better equipped district and firehall than we have here,” Mangus said.
The rural fire protection district was the first formed in Wyoming, and the district contracts with the towns of Lovell, Byron and Cowley to provide fire protection. Each town supplies the fire district with water free of charge for fighting fires.
The fire district, in turn, pays the Town of Lovell $36,000 per year for dispatching services. The district has built up enough of a reserve over the years to take care of major repairs and/or emergencies, Minchow and Mangus said.
There are currently 29 volunteer firemen in the department, and the department covers about 600 square miles even beyond the Montana border into the Dryhead area, east to the top of the mountain, south to just north of Greybull and west to the Park County line.
Removing the mill should turn about $170,000 per year back to the taxpayers, Minchow and Mangus said, and while one mill isn’t a lot of money, farmers and other large landowners will see relief, they said. Though the district is a rural district, the town governments are charged three – and now two – mills, so town residents should see a little relief, too.
Minchow noted that a lot of the trucks and equipment, as well as building expansions, have been paid for by grants over the years including the State Loan and Investment Board, the Wyoming State Forestry Division, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
by David Peck