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Mt. Lemmon Fire District gets increase in funding

Posted at 5:28 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 19:28:36-05

SUMMERHAVEN, Ariz. (KGUN9) — Mount Lemmon Fire District leaders say a boost in funding from Pima County will help balance their budget against rising costs. They are still hunting for dollars needed to make necessary repairs to the 35-year-old mountain fire house.

The Pima County Board of Supervisory approved a doubling of funding over the next five years. They are going from $15,000 to $30,000 a year. The fire district also gets state funding and money from fire protection services outside the district for a budget of about half a million dollars a year.

“It’s going to help us keep our heads above water,” said Mount Lemmon Fire District Board Chair John Perchorowicz. He says they will not be buying any fancy new equipment with the increase in funding. It will mostly go to maintaining what they already have.

“The cost of everything going up, inflation continues to be an issue, and our tax base has been decreasing.”

The station has 5 vehicles, 6 full-time firefighters and a chief. They are often the first responders protecting forest lands, the Town of Summerhaven, Ski Valley, residents, and more than a million visitors a year.

Perchorowizcz says now that they have enough funding to stay above water they are looking for 2 million dollars to modernize the old station for the health and safety of the firefighters.

“After turnouts are used for a fire, they are supposed to be washed cleaned and reissued. We don't have that ability here, so we have to send them down to be cleaned.”

They’ll soon be submitting a rural development grant to the USDA for that funding.