Kuna fire department hopes for green light on bond and levy.
KUNA, Idaho – As the entire Treasure Valley grows, Kuna is feeling a lot of the growing pains.
The growth results in Kuna’s small rural fire department taking care of a town that’s much bigger than it can handle.
Fire Chief TJ Lawrence said when the department is fully staffed, there are five firefighters serving the city. The proposed bond would add a new fire station and a levy would bring in six additional firefighters.
“We’re lagging behind in our ability to provide the quality service that everyone deserves,” Lawrence said
In Kuna, a city with around 36,000 inhabitants and rising, the calls for help overlap in 25% of cases, according to the fire department. When there are not enough staff, there is often nobody left to help.
“The first person will get all the help they need. Second person, not so much. They could be from another jurisdiction, Meridian, Boise or Nampa,” Lawrence said. “The second call could come sometime before you get help.”
Kuna Fire has five emergency workers per shift to respond to over 2,000 calls a year
Kuna Fire is facing personnel challenges
Farmers Insurance Agent Kelsey Holder said she had a direct view of the fire department rushing through the city from her office on Kuna’s Main Street.
“One of the things we see every day is Kuna Rural Fire driving by here in front of the office with sirens, stopping people and when they get to the stop sign they have to go over the tracks,” she said.
A large part of Kuna’s population lives south of the railway tracks, and the crew has to stop every time a train passes.
“Without this second fire station, if there’s a fire in my office here in Kuna, and unfortunately there’s another fire here south of town, the Kuna Rural Fire needs to call Meridian and Nampa, and also the resources are just stretched thin,” Holder said.
What does it cost Kuna residents?
If voters give the green light, the projected increase would be about $1.96 per month for every $100,000 of the estimated property value, according to Kuna Fire. A typical homeowner priced at $346,000 excluding the primary residence would see a projected increase of $6.79 per month, or $81.45 per year.
Some residents say it’s too expensive and they don’t want to pay for it.
“It affects every wallet. No one wants to pay extra money for something they don’t believe in,” Lawrence said. “I think they can believe that the money will go to a good cause. It’s for the community, it’s for their protection.”