My name is Gary Hagler. I am a captain for the Chubbuck Fire Department and have been for the past 27 years as a volunteer pay per-call employee. Many of my neighbors and friends have asked me how I feel about the new proposed North Bannock County Fire District.

I was surprised when North Bannock County Fire Commissioners terminated their contract with the Chubbuck Fire Department. The contract was for $116,000 per year. The Chubbuck Fire Department proposed the same rate of $116,000 per year if North Bannock County fire commissioners would provide 10 pay per-call volunteers to help bolster Chubbuck's ranks.

This proposal was rejected. North Bannock County then approached Pocatello Fire Department to provide fire protection for Bannock County. Pocatello's proposal was well over $650,000.

As I understand, the negotiations went back and forth until the last meeting with Chubbuck's mayor, who told the fire commissioners that Chubbuck would provide services now for $349,000 per year. As I reviewed the proposed North Bannock County fire district budget, which was approximately $480,000 per year, I realized the difference between the two proposals is approximately $130,000.

As many of my neighbors and I are retired and on fixed incomes, and with the recent Bannock County property tax increases, and now the North Bannock County fire district is proposing over a 300 percent increase in taxes, what is the objective of all of this unnecessary extra spending with our tax dollars?

The North Bannock County homeowners' insurance will rise because of the response time to each fire. The Chubbuck Fire Department has 14 highly trained full-time fire fighters and EMTs and we also have 32 volunteer pay per-call firefighters who can also respond. Chubbuck has a four-man crew in the station at all times.

Chubbuck has four structure apparatus trucks, two water tenders, three wildland trucks and one rescue truck. I hope this information will give my friends and neighbors and the taxpayers of North Bannock County enough facts to make their choice about the upcoming proposals.

Gary Hagler,