Tollgate Canyon residents came out in overwhelming favor of the community's potential annexation into the North Summit Fire District during Wednesday's Summit County Council hearing, and the agreement would likely see the construction of a fire station in Tollgate.
The request for annexation into the NSFD arose from a citizens' petition submitted to the County Clerk's Office last October. For the petition to be valid, it needed to contain signatures from either 10 percent of the taxable value of property in the neighborhood or 10 percent of registered voters, which is what the petition fulfilled.
The annexation would include the Pine Meadow Ranch and Forest Meadow Ranch subdivisions roughly a total of 1,000 lots. North Summit Fire Chief Ken Smith said the resulting tax revenues from the annexation would total around $87,000 a year.
"With that kind of revenue, we can afford to build a fire station in Tollgate," Smith said. "We've started informal discussions of obtaining property and we've identified some potential parcels that could meet our needs."
NSFD has been providing Tollgate with services despite the fact that the neighborhood is not part of its district. Tony Tyler, President of the Pine Meadow Ranch Homeowners Association, spoke in agreement with the annexation.
"We've already been receiving the services, so it's really in our best interest to annex into the district," Tyler said.
Smith said the district has already been planning for the annexation, as there are six trained emergency medical responders (EMRs) in the area, including him. A training plan is in place to have the other five EMRs able to respond by mid-March.
The NSFD will also apply through the state to become an EMR Quick Response agency, allowing the closest responding fire truck to an incident to conduct patient care upon arrival at a scene. Smith, who lives in Tollgate, is confident there are enough people from the community who will step up to volunteer.
"We'll have a great nucleus [of volunteers] to start with," Smith said.
Smith added the district has spoken with a firm to get an estimate on constructing a metal structure for a fire station. He said the cost of the structure, an 80- by-80-foot building, would be around $90,000. Interior finishes to the building such as heating and electrical would be another $40,000-50,000.
Tyler said Tollgate Canyon has 117 full-time residents with around 340 lots with cabins that are used part-time, especially during the summer when the population booms. Response time for EMS and fire vehicles, he said, is rarely less than 30 minutes, so having EMRs stationed there would be key.
Tollgate resident Alan Powell said that when he moved there in 2004 he became involved in the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and is in favor of the "volunteer aspect" of this annexation.
"We're kind of on our own up here," Powell said. "Several of us are willing to step up and volunteer and not be as much of a burden to the North Summit Fire District."
Anyone interested in filing a written protest to the potential annexation can send it no later than 60 days after Jan. 8 to the Summit County Clerk, 60 N. Main Street, Coalville, UT 84017.