Before the Barton County Commission passed a resolution to create a second fire district in Barton County at Monday’s meeting, the biggest concern was establishing another separate taxing entity. The Commission passed the resolution following a public hearing to allow the fire district to form for Hoisington and northern Barton County.
Commission Chair Jennifer Schartz says she is always hesitant relinquishing the power for the district to set its own mill levy.
Jennifer Schartz Audio
Upon formation of the fire district, Hoisington City Manager Jonathan Mitchell says he imagined the mill levy to be around three to five mills for the district. State statute calls for the district to have a ceiling of nine mills.
Mitchell says the district will be governed by a Board of Trustees, with each city and township involved allowed a representative on the board.
Jonathan Mitchell Audio
The fire district will include the cities of Hoisington, Olmitz, and Susank, plus the townships of Albion, Eureka, North Homestead, South Homestead, and Union. The Board of Trustees appointees were divided in terms that either end December 31, 2019 or December 31, 2020.
The fire district puts the funding on a broader base, with each city and township getting taxed, providing a more stable funding source.
Last summer, the Commission approved the formation of the Cottonwood Extension Office, combining Barton and Ellis counties. The taxing entity started with a .78 mill levy, but has the power to raise the mill levy to 1.5 mills.