Blue River Improvement District intends to ask property owners for permission to borrow up to $385,000 to purchase a new fire truck and apparatus.
According to a letter sent out recently by Dustin Deuling, improvement district chair, the borrowing would result in a tax increase of 69 per cent per year for the average property.
“The current fire truck is a 1980 GMC and is very outdated and no longer certified to be operating as our first responding truck,” Deuling wrote. “Therefore, we need to purchase a new fire truck to continue to operate.”
The loan for the truck would be paid back over 10 years at no more than a six per cent interest rate.
As an improvement district, Blue River is not eligible for government grants that are available to regional districts and municipalities. Several years ago, Vavenby and Blackpool fire departments were taken over by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.
A major factor in the takeover was that the regional district would be able to get government grants that would help with major equipment purchases.
However, that option has not been considered with Blue River’s fire department, according to Willow MacDonald, TNRD director for Thompson Headwaters (Area B).
“The Blue River Improvement District has a dedicated and hard working volunteer board,” MacDonald said. “They are happy to continue with the services they control, namely the fire department, garbage pick up and street lighting.”
The Thompson Headwaters representative noted that, with new provincial regulations regarding fire departments, the purchase of a new fire truck has become an issue the BRID must address or Blue River could lose its fire department.
“A new fire truck is much needed by the community, as the old one doesn’t comply with current standards and if the BRID does not replace it we will have no fire department at all,” she said. “As this would effect our house insurance negatively, I feel that the purchase of a new truck is a good investment.”
She pointed out that the improvement district has not had a tax increase for 30 years.
A special general meeting to decide on the proposal will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 2, in the Blue River Community Hall at 7 p.m.
A secret ballot will be held and the meeting will be the only way in which a vote will be counted.
A majority vote would allow the improvement district to adopt the bylaw and then borrow the money.
In order to vote at the special general meeting, a person must own property within the boundary of the Blue River improvement district, or be the owner’s authorized agent.
The voter also must be at least 18 years of age, a Canadian citizen, have been a resident of B.C. for at least six months, and not be disqualified by law from voting in local elections.