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      Proposed $14 million bond issue for firefighters

      The $14 million bond issue would pay for about $8 million worth of equipment and about $6 million worth of land and facilities.

      Boone County firefighters want voters to approve a $14 million bond issue in April.

      If voters pass the bond issue, the average homeowner would pay an extra $100 a year on their property taxes for a maximum of 20 years. Not everyone in Boone County would pay the extra money.

      Boone County Fire District spokesman Gale Blomenkamp said, ??This bond issue is only for the Boone County Fire Protection District. It does not include the City of Columbia. It does not include the City of Centralia. It does not include the City of Ashland.??

      Some fire trucks were bought in 1983. Firefighters said their maintenance costs on their old trucks are more expensive than buying new ones.

      The last time voters passed a bond issue was in 1998. Firefighters said their $14 million bond issue would pay for about $8 million worth of equipment and about $6 million worth of land and facilities.

      The bond issue would also pay for better training programs and could pay for a new fire station in northern Boone County. It would also improve living conditions at fire stations. Every firefighter is a volunteer.

      Blomenkamp said, ??If you look at the studies that show what it would cost to fully fund and have a paid fire department the size of ours, you are looking at more than $33 million. Currently, we operate on a budget of $3.8 million.??

      Blomenkamp said the proposed bond issue is necessary because much of what they have is outdated while they protect more than 50,000 people and cover about 500 square miles.

      Boone County fire officials are encouraging groups and organizations to have them as guest speakers to help educate the public about the proposed bond issue.