The Missoula Rural Fire District’s Board of Trustees is asking the public for an increase in their mill levy by 29.6 mills on the May 7 election ballot.

Chief Chris Newman says the funds will be used to hire more firefighter/EMT’s.

“The number one thing that we’re looking for is to provide the best service possible to our taxpayers,” said Newman. “This mill levy is aimed at hiring 10 new firefighter/EMT’s. As of right now we have five fire stations and we can only guarantee two firefighters during the day and one firefighter at night. If this mill levy is successful, we’ll be able to provide a minimum of two firefighter/EMT’s with advanced life support capabilities 24/7, 365.”

Newman breaks down what the 29.6 mills will mean to the average property tax payer.

“For the tax assessed market value, not the sales price of a home, for each $100,000 of tax assessed market value the cost would be around $39, and for $200,000 of tax assessed market value it would be about $79 per year,” he said. “Since the primary reason for this levy is personnel, the levy would be permanent.”

Newman said if the levy is not passed by Missoula County taxpayers then the staffing would remain as it is now, with two firefighters during the day and one firefighter at night.

In addition to improved staffing, Chief Newman says that passage of the mill levy would enable MRFD to maintain more modern equipment including fire engines, medical units, cardiac monitors, and Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus to ensure more consistent availability of up-to-date equipment on every call.