Brookline Fire Protection District proposes tax increase to add firefighters

Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 11:23 AM CDT
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BROOKLINE, Mo. (KY3) - The Brookline Fire Protection District is proposing a tax increase on the August ballot to pay for more firefighters.

The fire district is primarily in southwest Greene County, but covers a small area of Christian County. Proposition 1 adds a 50 cents to the property tax rate.

The Brookline Fire Protection District Board recently approved four full-time staff, including the chief’s position. Prior to this year, the district was entirely volunteer. Chief Jamie Kilburn says since 2017, the department reports about a 70% increase in calls. He expects to hit about 1,300 calls in 2021. Firefighters respond to all those calls with only four full-time staff and the few volunteers they have, when they’re available.

The tax levy increase would allow the district to add a seven more paid full-time firefighters. The department recently adding living quarters to Station 1.

The Brookline tax levy is currently the lowest of any fire district in Greene County, at 24 cents. And the district hasn’t asked for an increase since it was formed more than 30 years ago.

“With the growth, the traffic, the large number of homes, businesses, it’s time to go to a full-time department, along with the volunteers, to keep up,” said Chief Kilburn.

The proposed 50 cent increase would bring the district to 74 cents, the same level as Willard Fire District. For a $100,000 home, the tax levy increase would mean about an extra $95 in taxes a year.

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