Sunrise Beach Fire Chief Dennis Reilly has estimated the bump in the levy would allow the district to offer a stable tax rate for the next 10 to 15 years - as opposed to having to come to voters for general obligation bonds every time it needs to purchase apparatus and major equipment items.

After the board of directors agreed to propose a 9-cent operating levy increase on the Aug. 8, 2017 ballot, the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District has scheduled a series of town hall meetings to discuss the issue.
The tentative schedule includes:
7 p.m. Thursday, June 29 at headquarters (HQ) on Porter Mill Spring Road, just off Highway 5, across from Hurricane Deck Elementary
7 p.m. Friday, July 7 at HQ
7 p.m. Wednesday, July 12 at HQ
7 p.m. Tuesday, July 18 TBA
7 p.m. Friday, July 28 at HQ
7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3 at HQ

The proposed levy increase is intended to add two more firefighter positions and help the department plan for current and future equipment and maintenance needs.
Sunrise Beach Fire Chief Dennis Reilly has estimated the bump in the levy would allow the district to offer a stable tax rate for the next 10 to 15 years - as opposed to having to come to voters for general obligation bonds every time it needs to purchase apparatus and major equipment items.
The additional staffing funded by the increase would allow the department to keep its second manned station on Spruce Road open “24/7,” Reilly said. Having personnel in this area where many of the district’s calls come from allows the department to respond to the scene of incidents more quickly, according to district response time data analysis.
The SBFPD announced historic staffing levels in November 2016 when it was able to place six full-time firefighters on duty at two fire houses. The district has 17 full-time firefighter positions in the operations division. Right now, the district has an unfilled position and when a firefighter takes a vacation or sick day, the department has to close Station 3.
The operating levy change would bump the SBFPD up again after its last levy increase approved by voters in 2013. That issue allowed the district a seven-cent increase on top of capturing an outgoing debt levy to increase staffing and begin building up an equipment and apparatus replacement fund.
Since then, the district has seen an operational shift focused on staffing up with paid career firefighters as volunteer firefighter levels have declined along the lines of nationwide trends. Additional firefighter positions were added, allowing the department to begin manning a second station house - located in the Shawnee Bend area - part-time with career firefighters.
The district has also begun a savings program for equipment and apparatus replacement supplemented by the sale of certain apparatus and equipment that was found to be little used after analysis of resources. The district recently purchased replacement turnout gear as well as having its fire boat fixed.
A 9-cent levy increase means an additional nine cents per $100 of assessed valuation of personal and real estate property would be collected by the district. The current levy stands at $0.6145. The increase would take the rate to approximately $0.7045.
Contact Chief Reilly at District Headquarters at 573-374-4411 with any questions.