The Gooding Fire Department is asking for the voters help this upcoming election. Firefighters say they’ve outgrown their fire house and are losing out on potential grant money.
“We've altered this station as much as we can over the past 80 years,” Gooding Fire Chief Brandon Covey said.
Built in 1937, the Gooding Fire Department finally outgrew its home.
“Right now we're at a standstill, if you will. We can't buy new trucks because they won't fit in the station that we're at. We just, we need help,” Covey said.
Covey and his 25 volunteer firefighters are asking voters for that help. First, they would like the people to vote to advise city council to consolidate the Gooding Rural Fire District and the Gooding Fire Department into one single entity.
“We operate in the business side as two separate entities. The fireman all work for one fire department, Gooding Fire Department, but the bottom line is we are two entities,” Gooding Rural Fire District Commissioner Jim Brockman said.
Brockman says both departments are losing out on a lot of money because they’re separate entities.
“It would allow us to go out and get larger grants for new equipment, for further construction, for safety courses and equipment for the firefighters. Right now, there's a lot of those grants you can't apply for because the business entity is split,” Brockman said.
The fire department also faces the fact that many of those new fire engines won’t even fit into their current station.
“All the equipment we have, some of it doesn't fit in here. We have three or four trucks parked outside year-around. We have to take three of them out of service during the cold season because the water would freeze up,” Covey said.
To help with that problem, the department is asking voters to pass a levy that would allow them to build a new fire station.
“Until we can get a levy, we're stuck here,” Covey said.
The levy would increase property taxes for those in the rural community by about $50 for every $100,000 property value. Brockman says property owners could recoup some of those costs in homeowners insurance.
“If we can go one more step on the insurance ratings that saves people, that will save everyone a lot of money,” Brockman said.
As for those who live in the city of Gooding, it could actually save money as the city council could vote to remove the current fire expense from the city tax revenue.
“The new levy is actually a savings for the people in town. It's about a third less than what the city is spending now,” Brockman said.
The fire department is holding two town hall meetings on October 27 and November 3 at 7 p.m. to answer any questions voters may have.
In order for both the consolidation advisory and the levy to pass, they will need a simple majority from the voters on Nov. 7.