Residents likely to win fire fight |

Residents likely to win fire fight

Public input appears to have succeeded in stopping a proposed change to how the Jordanelle Fire Station is funded. The change would have required less money from developers and asked some residents to pay six times as much in emergency service fees as they do now.

Every five years the Jordanelle Special Services District is required to re-examine how it is funded and go through a public process to renew or change its methods, explained Wasatch County Council member Mike Kohler. The Council also serves as the county’s fire board.

Many landowners and developers of lots around the Jordanelle Reservoir had complained to the county that the current method was unfair to them.

When the district was established and the fire station built several years ago, property owners were supposed to pay their portion of the budget based on the percentage of the total lots they owned.

When the recession hit, the landowners were not able to sell their lots and were shouldered with a larger share of the budget than the homeowners who use the emergency services more, Kohler explained.

The developers requested the district’s emergency fees be based on each property’s taxable value. This is how most of the surrounding fire districts assess fees. This would allow the developers to pay less, and make homeowners pay more, Kohler said.

However, residents showed up in force to the board’s April meeting and expressed a different point of view, he said.

In the minds of the homeowners, the developers are trying to back out of an agreement they made and place the burden of their stalled projects on the their clients, two homeowner association representatives told The Park Record.

When the fire board met again May 12, they decided to form a committee of landowners and homeowner associations to make recommendations on funding the district for the next five years, Kohler said.

County Council member Steve Farrell is the chairman of fire board. He said the recommendations will be considered, and the board will make the final decision. He hopes to have the funding mechanism decided and in place by July.

The input from Jordanelle residents convinced the board that basing fees on taxable value was not a good option, Farrell said. It’s too early to say what will be decided, but the developers’ proposal is not a likely option at this point.

"This study group will get more people involved," he explained. We’ve got to come up with a resolution."

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