News & Features

Smith Valley Fire Levy Fails

Department was hoping to increase mills to fund additional staffing

Voters have rejected an effort to staff the Smith Valley Fire Department with firefighters and medics 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

On Sept. 13, Smith Valley area residents voted against a levy authorizing an additional 48.91 mills a year that would have let the department hire four additional firefighters and EMTs. The department currently has two full-time firefighters that provide coverage Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. The department relies on volunteers to cover nights and weekends.

According to the preliminary results from the Flathead County Election Department, 562 people voted for the levy and 883 people voted against it.

According to the fire department, homeowners with a property worth $100,000 would have paid an additional $66.02 annually and those with a home valued at $275,000 (the median price of a home in the Kalispell area) would have paid an additional $181.57 annually.

In a message posted on Facebook, the fire department wrote, “While the results were not what we hoped for, we will continue to provide the best service we can with the resources we have available.”