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Voters in the Colorado River Fire Rescue District gave the property tax Ballot Issue 6A the nod by a more than 2-to-1 margin in Tuesday’s election.

Unofficial results posted around 10 p.m. Tuesday to the Garfield County website had the proposed phased mill levy ahead with more than 69% of voters approving, 2,951 votes in favor to 1,310 against.

Voters within the district stretching from New Castle to Rifle were asked whether to support a mill levy increase aimed at restoring service losses due to budget cuts in recent years.

“We’re very, very happy seeing those numbers, and appreciate the support from the community we serve,” CRFR Chief Leif Sackett said. “Over the last month, we’ve been doing a lot of informational push, and had great support when we were out talking to people. That’s encouraging to hear and see.”

Issue 6A sought phased property tax increase over the next five years through 2026 to enhance fire protection, ambulance, emergency medical response, rescue, safety and other district support services.

The measure promised to address recruitment and retention of firefighters and paramedics, improve training, replacement and maintenance of equipment and emergency response time.

A combination of a declining oil and gas industry and a resulting decrease in property valuations in 2016 led the fire district to reduce its budget by about 35%, or $2.4 million, since that time.

CRFR has relied heavily on reserves to temporarily shore up its budget, but has sold equipment this year in order to make ends meet, Sackett explained ahead of Tuesday’s election.

The district serves more than 25,000 residents over a 851-square-mile area.

A previous mill levy increase attempt was rejected by district voters in 2020.

“I think it made a difference that we were out talking to people, being out with the kids for trick-or-treat streets and letting people ask questions,” Sackett said. “That makes a big difference in all these towns.”

Senior Reporter/Managing Editor John Stroud can be reached at 970-384-9160 or

This content was originally published here.