Vote “No” To Fire District
To The Editor:
After reading endless propaganda put forth by the city of Estes Park and their never ending quest for more taxes, I feel compelled to write this letter. Hopefully, I can inform local citizens about the city’s manipulative tactics used to convince you that you need something that you really do not need. If the city does not change their tax and spend mentality, more people and businesses will be leaving town under the strain of ever higher taxes.
It is amazing that Estes Park town leaders have money to spend on every whimsical idea that they have, but somehow they feel that they are not responsible for providing essential services like fire and rescue. They have their priorities screwed up – and they should be held accountable. The town has money to spend somewhere between a half a million to a million dollars on new bleachers for tourists, tens of thousands of dollars for Christmas lights, endless money on Bond Park, and millions of dollars on an information center a couple of years ago, and last but not least, the mayor and city council personnel have given themselves huge pay raises a year or two ago.
While I think the city’s outrageous spending needs to be attended to, I want to focus on one area of their proposed spending in this letter – the fire district. The main problem with the fire district is that from 2011 on, the town board has no legal obligation to continue to fund the fire department. I contend that the new fire district is a way for the town of Estes Park to wash its hands of the fire department in a few years and end its obligation to provide an essential service that local government was created to provide. When this happens, and sooner or later, there will be a budget shortfall, you can bet this will be the first thing to be cut; there is no legal obligation to provide the 7% of town sales tax revenue to the fire district after 2010. When this happens, the fire district will have no choice but to ask for another large tax increase to make up for the shortfall that the town will not be providing.
One of the fallacies I have heard when expressing my views is that a vote against the fire district is a vote against local firefighters. That is equivalent to saying that if you are against the war in Iraq, you are against all soldiers. It is faulty logic, and people are being duped into believing it. Another fallacy is that the tourists pay all of the 7% of the town sales tax revenue that is currently going to the fire district. All the residents of Estes Park who buy goods in all the stores contribute at least 7% to town sales tax revenue. So, in fact, we the citizens of Estes Valley are paying for the fire department at this time.
The way the system is set up now makes tourists responsible for their actions. If tourists come to town and have a traffic accident, a hiking accident, or a slip and fall, they or their insurance company is sent a bill to defray the cost of services rendered by the town of Estes Park and the Fire Department. If the fire district succeeds, we the taxpayers of Estes Park will be paying for it; the tourists will no longer receive a bill for services rendered. Another big giveaway to tourists at taxpayer’s expenses. Of course, our town needs tourism to survive, but we should not be footing the bill for their mishaps.
Does a small town with a volunteer fire department really need a paid chief, an underchief, and a full time secretary? The fire chief drives a large SUV, provided by the taxpayers, using lots of taxpayer’s money toward fuel. At a time when the town supposedly does not have enough money to take care of the fire department, they add insult to injury by hiring yet another full time position of “training officer” at $60,000 + benefits per year. Is this really necessary?
We’re facing higher taxes from every level (federal, state, county, local) of government; it is time we the people make a stand. Our forefathers risked life and property when they were overtaxed because they were not about to hand over their hard earned money to greedy leaders. Thankfully today, all you have to do is find a small amount of time and initiative to investigate the truth on this new tax, as well as others that will soon be coming – and GO AND VOTE! It’s up to you.
If you would like more information on this topic, I highly recommend all voters check out this website and become more informed before casting their vote either way. nofiredistrict.yolasite.com
Estes Valley Resident