HELENA- Early returns show broad voter support for a new tax levy that will allow the Helena Fire Department to expand its staff and purchase new equipment.
Results from the Lewis and Clark County Election Office at 10:45 p.m. show people voting for the levy by a wide margin, support topped 68%.
The levy will raise about $900,000 a year. $600,000 will be used to hire additional firefighters, while the rest will pay for fire apparatus and equipment purchases. The Helena Fire Department currently has seven firefighters on duty at a time, but Chief Mark Emert said that’s not enough when multiple fire or medical calls come in.
The levy will allow the department to hire six additional firefighters which equate to about two additional responders to each of the department’s three shifts.
For taxpayers, the proposed levy would increase taxes $18.43 a year on a $100,000 home and $36.85 a year on a $200,000 home.