North Tooele County Fire District Chief Randy Willden speaks at a truth-in-taxation meeting at the Lake Point Fire Station last Tuesday. On Thursday the North Tooele County Fire District Administrative Board passed a tax rate increase of 14.3 percent.
- photography / Maegan Burr
North Tooele County Fire District Chief Randy Willden speaks at a truth-in-taxation meeting at the Lake Point Fire Station last Tuesday.
The hike was approved by a unanimous vote of three present board members - a fourth member was excused and the fifth board seat, previously held by the district's new chief, Randy Willden, has remained vacant since he took that position in June.
For a resident of the unincorporated areas in northern Tooele County covered by NTCFD, that increase figures out to be approximately $7.70 cents on a $250,000 home, rising from $84.29 to $91.99.
"The only caveat is one of the board members asked that we keep looking for more ways to save money," Willden
"So we're continuing to look for more ways that will save the district money."
The 14.3 percent increase, which was lowered from a 19.53 increase proposed last December, was introduced primarily to facilitate a pay-per-call system to bolster response during the times of day when most calls come in, Willden
Since becoming chief, Willden
and district firefighters had been trimming the existing budget in hopes of reducing the amount of an increase they would require to implement such a system.
The biggest area they have cut has been utilities - 17 lights in the station had been on 24 hours per day and did not have a light switch.
will continue looking for more efficient ways to light and power the station, including installing a motion detector or system to turn on lights when a fire or medical call comes through, thereby reducing the amount of time the lights are on.
"It's not like we're trying to run a Cadillac plan here," he
was happy with the civil responses he
has heard about the tax hike, and believes the constructive nature of that feedback is a sign of a cooperative relationship between the department and residents in the area - one he
hopes will continue in years to come.
"I think the people at the December meeting were satisfied that we reduced the increase," he