Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - The Missoula City Council at a Wednesday meeting voted unanimously to place the $7 million Fire Services Levy on the June primary ballot.

Missoula City Fire Chief Gordy Hughes explained the actual cost to residential taxpayers if the levy is approved in June.

Property Taxes would go up about $190 a Year to Fund the $7 Million Levy

“If we pass a levy, approximately $46 per $100,000 of assessed value would be added to your tax bill,” began Chief Hughes. However, more along the median range value of a house that cost $539,500 would have an assessed tax value of $189 a year. That’s a small investment in my opinion. I'm the fire chief though but I will put this hopefully to the voters to make the determination of where they want to spend their resources.”

Chief Hughes explained why he and the city council chose not to place the levy on the last ballot as residential property owners were panicking about their massive home value reassessments.

“We went through the same process,” he said. “If we go for the fall election on the ballot only to find out that we have to raise taxes to keep up with the cost of doing business on top of those new assessments for the property taxes. That's why we pulled this levy to give the voting public the opportunity to digest those changes to their (property) tax bill were going to amount to.”

Chief Hughes said if the Levy Fails There Could be Dire Consequences

KGVO asked Chief Hughes what would happen if the levy failed to pass in June.

“If this levy fails, there is very little skin or meat left on the bone,” he said. The city would have to take a deep look. If we start to surpass the costs of doing business within the city, then the city would have to look deep and hard at how we provide services that our cities are tasked with.”

Not long ago, KGVO News spoke to Andrew Drobek, head of the Missoula Firefighters Union about the current fire funding problems.

READ MORE: Missoula Firefighters Desperately Need More Funding

One City Councilor Vows to Look for Ways to Reduce City Costs to Fund the Levy

Following the city council meeting, KGVO spoke to Ward 6 City Councilor Sandra Vasecka who mentioned during the meeting that perhaps the city could cut unnecessary programs to find the funding for the fire department.

“So I encourage you (other members of the city council) to challenge me on Monday to find $7 million in the budget so that we don’t have to put this levy forward,” said Vasecka. “I said ‘Challenge accepted’. I will try. In the last budget season, I was able to find over half a million dollars (in savings), and that was just me. I have a couple of colleagues that are willing to help me this time, so maybe I can find $7 million, and we won't have to have this levy that long.”

Click here to watch the entire City Council meeting on the $7 million fire services levy.

Looking Back at One of Montana's Most Explosive Fires

The 2013 Lolo Creek Fire burned within 6 miles of Missoula

Gallery Credit: Dennis Bragg

More From Z100 Classic Rock