Gooding Fire Dept. proposes merger, levy increase

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GOODING, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) - The Gooding Fire Department is planning new changes to the department with your vote this upcoming election.

The rural and city fire departments are two separate entities, but they operate as one so they wish to merge as a district.

"This will help get more grant money in the future," said Jim Brockman, the rural fire commissioner.

This will allow them to replace old equipment.

"(One) truck is 40 years old. It doesn't have foam ability. (Another) truck is 30 years old. It needs to be replaced," said Gooding Fire Chief Brandon Covey.

The biggest change officials hope for is a levy increase to build a new fire station on a seven acre lot closer to the hospital.

The current levy rate sits at 0.05 percent. With approval, the increase will rise to 0.15 percent.

The nearly $2 million project would give the department much needed space that the current 80-year-old building and location can't offer.

"We have four or five trucks that we have to park outside. During the cold season coming up, we have to take (them) out of service," said Chief Covey.

The new station would also feature a large training room to accommodate their growing staff.

"During the winter or during any classroom time, we do it here and it's really tight quarters in there," he continued.

Chief Covey says they work hard at training and exercises to keep the city at a rating of three, which keeps insurance rates low.

"With a new station, new equipment, and more training hours, we could possibly take that to a level two which would save even more money for the community," he added.

Town hall meetings regarding the proposal will be held at the fire station on Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m to address any questions or concerns by the public.

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