What a difference a year makes
Just about a year ago, the Aurora fire district lost a levy by a mere 9 votes.
This year, the district supported the levy by a vote of 531 to 395, allowing the district to hire three or four new employees to serve as emergency medical technicians and firefighters. That will allow the district to remain open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The new levy is 99 cents per $1,000 valuation for five years. That's an increase of 50 cents from the former levy of 49 cents per $1,000 valuation allowing more people on the staff in order to take care of emergencies and fires during the times there weren't enough to meet demands.
The new levy will likely increase staff to nine people from the current four and pay for medical tools, safety equipment and repairs. The 50-cent increase replaces the levy approved in 2013 and due to expire in 2020.
"We won't see any revenue until November," said Chief Joshua Williams. "After the first of the year, I'll be putting out a schedule for 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This levy is for people, not for equipment," he added.
Although most of the money will go to salaries, Williams says they might have $25,000 to use for a monitor and/or a defribulator.
"We're extremely excited," he told the Herald. "Last year we failed by 9 votes. Right now (Wednesday morning), we're ahead by 240 votes. Now, it's positively swinging our way. I'm thankful for our community."
Last year Williams noted the importance of every vote in a small community.
"Every vote matters, especially when there's a low turnout," he said.
This year they got started early getting the word out about how the 99-cent levy would help maximize the employees by hiring EMTs along with firefighters and beefing up their staff.