El Paso County fire protection districts seeking money in this year's election said voters were the real winners Tuesday.
Unofficial election results showed ballot issues for the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, the Donald Wescott Fire Protection District and the Green Mountain Falls-Chipita Park Fire Protection District passing with more than 60 percent of voters in support.
"The community has spoken and they believe they should have appropriate fire protection," Donald Wescott Chief Vinny Burns said. "They're the big winners here."
With 62 percent voting "yes," residents of the Gleneagle and Sun Hills neighborhoods will see their property taxes triple - the owner of a $100,000 home will pay about $107 a year, but it also means the district can keep its staff of 15, Burns said.
"Everything stays intact," Burns said, admitting to tearing up when the initial votes came in. "We march on."
Tri-Lakes Monument Chief Chris Truty also called Tuesday's initial passing vote "a victory for the community."
About 61 percent of voters in the district, which serves about 10,000 households in the northern part of the county, supported Issue 5A, unofficial ballot results showed. The measure will increase the portion of property taxes paid to the district by more than 50 percent, which Truty said is needed to keep up with the growing population and allow for updating equipment.
Residents in the Green Mountain Falls/Chipita Park district overwhelmingly supported Issue 4A with about 84 percent agreeing to allow the district to keep outside monies, such as grants, gifts and donations, without penalty to the budget. The money will be used to help pay for the construction of a new fire station.
Last year, the district's voters passed a bond issue that allowed the city to raise taxes and increase its debt to up to $3.5 million to pay for the new station, though it's unknown how much it will actually cost.
Editor's note: This story was amended to clarify that Tri-Lakes residents will see a 50 percent increase only on the portion of property tax they pay to the district, not the overall tax.
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