Hauser Enjoys Highest Voter Turnout, Reject Massive Tax Hike

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HAUSER, Idaho – Voters in precinct 304, which comprises all of Hauser Lake, came out in high numbers to reject a 290% increase in the Hauser Lake Fire District base budget.

All told, 688 Republican primary ballots were cast in precinct 304, along with 61 Democratic primary ballots. The attempt to increase the budget, and therefore increase the levy rate, needed a two-thirds majority to pass, however, it fell short with 63.78 percent voting against the proposal.

Unofficial results from the Kootenai County Elections website.

“I think the residents of Hauser sent a clear message to the fire chief,” stated resident Kris Andrews RN. “He needs to remind himself that it’s not his job to push a self-serving agenda on the community, but to serve the community.” 

Hauser had more Republican primary voters than any other precinct in the county, and pulled in the fifth highest Democratic tally in the county. There were no Libertarian or Constitution primary ballots cast in precinct 304. Only three other precincts in Kootenai County had Republican showings over 600, while the majority posted numbers in the 300s and below. It appears the best way to get voters to the polls is to place a tax measure on the ballot.

The high voter turnout in 304 allowed for a healthy competition in a hotly contested Republican Precinct Committeeman race. Hendrik Mills retained his seat, beating challenger Pete Broschet by 88 votes. Hendrik owned and operated St. Christopher’s Auto Diagnostic off Highway 53 in Rathdrum before selling to an ambitious young mechanic.

“There will be more honesty in government when voters diligently research issues and facts themselves, instead of relying on slogans and personal impressions,” stated Hendrik. “Everyone wants governmental officials to be honest and treat them justly. It goes a long way if both citizens and elected officials take seriously what is in the Scriptures and actually live the Gospels.”

Broschet is the Director of Human Resources for Empire Airlines. He ran against Mike Waggoner for North Idaho College Trustee in November 2022, after being appointed to the college board by the State Board of Education in May 2022. Broschet could not be reached for comment.

Unofficial results from the Kootenai County Elections website.

Paula Neils ran uncontested in her bid for the Democratic Precinct Committeeman seat.

Unofficial results from the Kootenai County Elections website.

Before the election, the fire district sent out multiple mailings and held two community discussions in an attempt to garner support and explain the current state of affairs within the district. At one of these meetings, Chief James Neils was asked how long the district could maintain current operations if the levy increase failed. His response indicated that operations could be sustained for roughly 10 years.

Chief Neils could not be reached for comment post-election and did not respond to email inquires from the Kootenai Journal concerning the budget increase proposal prior to the election.