Fire Protection District Q & A General Costs And Fire Dept. Finance
The proposed establishment of the Estes Valley Fire Protection District to provide fire and rescue services to the entire Estes Valley will go to the voters this November. Each week until the election the Fire Services Initiative Committee will answer questions submitted by the residents of the Estes Valley. Questions are being grouped by subject. This week the questions involve the general costs of operating a fire department.
Q. Who pays for the Fire Department now?
A. The Fire Department is currently funded from a variety of sources, including the Town of Estes Park (from Sales tax revenue and 8% of the current property tax revenue), Subscription fees from people living outside the Town limits, grants, and donations and fund raising events conducted by the firefighters.
Q. Why does a Volunteer Fire Department cost so much money?
A. It takes a lot of money to provide for training, vehicles, equipment, maintenance, building overhead, insurance, volunteer pension, and to pay for the three full time employees of the department.
Q. If we go to an all-paid Fire Department, will my taxes go up again?
A. It would be extraordinarily expensive to fund an all-paid Fire Department. Any increase in taxes would have to be voted on by the voters in the Fire Protection District.
Q. Who will oversee the finances of the Fire Protection District? To whom are they accountable?
A. The finances (and the entire Fire Protection District) will be overseen by an elected independent board of directors, consisting of five directors elected at large from within the Fire Protection District, with staggered terms. They are accountable to the voters.
Q. What is the current Fire Department budget and what are the projected costs for the next few years? How did you arrive at those numbers?
A. The 2008 Fire Department Budget was $993,183. The projected budget for 2010 is $1,084,635 and $1,039,027 for 2011. The revenue projections are based on current budget values and expected annual changes in assessed valuations of properties, and from the Town of Estes Park (sales tax projection). The expense projections came from the Fire Department historical spending projected for the next few years.
Q. Who will own the fire equipment and station?
A. The Town will transfer ownership of all of the vehicles and equipment to the Fire Protection District, but will retain ownership of the fire station, leasing it to the Fire Protection District for $1 per year.
If you have any questions concerning the proposed establishment of the Estes Valley Fire Protection District you can email them to Tom Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website at www.evfireservices.org.