Credible Information on the Consolidation of EC/IC/NF Fire Protection Districts

15 Oct 2023 08:03 #1 by aflleo
Get CREDIBLE information on the Consolidation of Elk Creek, Inter-Canyon, and North Fork Fire Protection Districts here:

www.asaferconifer.org/
www.mountainfireresources.com/

A YES vote for Consolidation is in the best interest of your family, friends, and neighbors. Let's do it!!!!!!!!!
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15 Oct 2023 12:12 - 15 Oct 2023 12:15 #2 by LadyJazzer
In response to another blast of "Taxpayer money-backed" talking points, as a senior on a fixed income, and well-aware that the talking points are based on "What would be nice to have", rather than "What is ABSOLUTELY Needed", I will vote NO. This "Nice to have project" will increase my taxes more than last year's COLA (Cost-Of-Living-Adjustment) 8.7% raise.

We don't NEED it. I don't want to pay for it. It will not help ME one iota. It is something we can do without.... Like a Recreation Center for Aspen Park, which I will never vote for.

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15 Oct 2023 20:34 #3 by aflleo
Hi LadyJazzer,

I understand the challenges of living on a fixed income. Please make sure you have the right information about how much your taxes will increase before making a decision. There is a "Tax Calculator" on this website www.mountainfireresources.com/ . Look at the menu across the top, select "Tax Calculator, the FPD you live in, and enter your property value. The calculator will give you an estimate of your tax increase. Mine increases by $10/month. Yours may increase much less. I'll need to budget, but $10 a month is well worth a better Fire Protection District. It's in our best interest. Please let me know if you have more questions. Thanks!

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17 Oct 2023 10:06 - 17 Oct 2023 10:52 #4 by ScienceChic
LJ, the people who work and volunteer in the fire districts don't ask for something from the taxpayers unless they need them. This is not a "nice to have" situation, they are seeing the trends of our aging population in Jeffco, declining volunteers (which is nationwide and has been declining for years), traffic increasing which increases the number of accidents, and fires that have gotten worse thanks to poor forest management and climate change.

They cannot continue providing the same level of service unless they can hire additional full-time staff to cover the areas where the worst of our wildland fires start (and they burn straight toward Conifer when they do). They cannot house those on-call firefighter paramedics in Morrison or Bufflo Creek unless they remodel 2 stations that currently don't even have bedrooms. North Fork doesn't even have enough volunteers to hold their annual chili fundraiser during Christmas tree hunting season like they had for decades. When I attended their open house, they told me that on a backcountry rescue this past summer, the average of the 5 NFFPD personnel who hiked in to wheel out a 20-something injured biker was 61. There isn't new construction down there, and barely any younger families moving in, they have very little population to pull from for volunteers.

If you think that won't impact you, you are mistaken.

Elk Creek Fire receives more mutual aid from neighboring districts than it provides because we have more overlapping calls. That's not fair, and not sustainable as call volume continues to increase for us and them. And when both of our ambulances are out taking patients down the hill (a 2-3 hour round trip for a call), do you want to wait for an ambulance to be toned out from ICFPD or Evergreen Fire? If we combine districts, there is no waiting for that request from Elk Creek Fire to tone out a different district, dispatch has already made the call to Conifer Fire which now has 7 ambulances to call upon and the next ambulance is rolling.

In Inter-Canyon, the Chief and the Deputy Chief alternate being on call over weekends. That's a recipe for burnout. Especially as our firefighters, and Chiefs, are underpaid compared to the other fire districts in Colorado. Chief Ware has the lowest, or is in the top 3 of lowest-paid Chiefs overall. They aren't enriching themselves and begging for extra, they see the future because they are living it and they know what they will need in the near future. They have also been fiscally responsible, saved money for new fire engines so they don't have to finance them (and pay those exorbitant interest rates, saving hundreds of thousands in taxpayer dollars), passed every 3rd-party audit every year, and kept the promises they made with the last two mill levies (which is why we even have enough personnel for 2 simultaneous calls now, a fact that the opposition ignores).

I don't know about you, but I prefer my first responders be proactive and prepare rather than play catch up at my expense. If you have questions, go ask the Chief. If you're only listening to the opposition, it's a load of lies that play like a bad record from the past two mill levy requests - I know, I was there and refuted them all back then too.

Edit to add: this is Director Chuck Newby, registered agent for the opposition group Save Elk Creek Fire (which is illegally using the ECFPD logo in their campaign) yelling at the volunteers and career firefighters at the last Elk Creek Fire Board meeting, saying and I quote "You're despicable - all of you - all of you - you claim to be heroes? You're liars. Despicable. Despicable."

Can you trust a person who says this about our first responders?

Here's the full meeting video, in which you can hear multiple volunteers and career staff refute Save Elk Creek Fire's claims that their is "dysfunction" between volunteers and career staff, and hostility toward volunteers. The same lies came up in the 2013 and 2019 election, and it was stated by disgruntled former ECFPD firefighters who show up every time there's something on the ballot that has to do with ECFPD (they disappear otherwise, and I know that because I've attended nearly every ECFPD Board meeting for 11 years and I see who else is there). There's no push to get rid of volunteers, never has been, never will be. Elk Creek Fire holds combined fire fighter academies every year with ICFPD and NFFPD (and sometimes other 285 Corridor districts).


Don't fall for the lies. Go talk to the firefighters yourself if you don't believe the show of support here.

"Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” -King T'Challa, Black Panther

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill
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19 Oct 2023 12:07 #5 by Rick
I haven’t been a resident of the Conifer area since 1982 so I don’t have any skin in that game anymore. But, I moved to Red Feather Lakes last December. Red Feather came very close to being wiped out by the Cameron Peak fire a few years back. I was well aware of that fact and still moved here because the crime and homelessness in Lakewood was more of a risk to my family than another potential forest fire, imo.

Crime is spreading in most big cities because police officers are in very short supply due to reasons I won’t go into in this thread. To me, a deficiency of fire fighters, equipment, and structures is the same kind of problem as a gutted police department.

Mountain communities don’t have the same level of crime as the cities (yet), but they do have the always present danger of fire. For that reason I’m willing to pay more to get more efficient and effective fire departments. The people who have been here before and after the fire are constantly coming up with fundraisers for the fire departments that really need more help and resources. This isn’t nearly enough and I’m not going to complain if I have to pay more to help protect my home and community.

Imo, if you live in the mountains you should support those who lower the risks and help to keep your area safe. If any of you don’t want to pitch in a little more, you have a right to complain. I’m just saying that you are very fortunate to live in the clean air and away from the masses… there’s a cost for that privilege.

It was always the women, and above all the young ones, who were the most bigoted adherents of the Party, the swallowers of slogans, the amateur spies and nosers−out of unorthodoxy

George Orwell

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19 Oct 2023 14:43 #6 by homeagain


CLICK U TUBE....SEE THE TERROR OF TRAVELING THRU FIERCE FLAMES IN AN ATTEMPT TO SAVE YOUR LIFE.....NOW THINK ABOUT THIS PROPOSAL AND VOTE TO PASS IT......YOUR LIFE IS MORE VALUABLE THAN A FEW DOLLARS ON A MIL LEVY......JMO

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19 Oct 2023 17:02 #7 by ramage
Citizens looking for Credible Information About Consolidation here is some information about the language on the ballot:


Elk Creek Fire Protection District Ballot Issue 7D
This ballot measure asks you to vote “Yes / For” or “No / Against” A TOTAL APPROVED MILL LEVY OF UP TO 16 MILLS to fund the proposed consolidated FPD. The 16 Mill Levy total is based on extending the current Elk Creek FPD 12.5 Mill Levy (which otherwise disappears end of December 2023) and adding an additional property tax levy of 3.5 MILLS. Voting ‘Yes / For’ makes it financially feasible to Consolidate.

(The above
information is taken from a poster on another website.)

Please correct me if I am wrong, this would be a 28% increase in the mil rate to fund the consolidation.
Why is that necessary? Consolidations should result in a decrease in costs.

Full disclosure I live in the middle of the Elk Creek Fire District.

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19 Oct 2023 18:31 #8 by homeagain
Citizens looking for Credible Information About Consolidation here is some information about the language on the ballot:

Consolidation Ballot Language
The language used on the ballot for the three Elk Creek FPD ballot issues that are related to consolidation (7D / 7E / 7F) is unclear and lacks context on the requirements for the approval of Consolidation. To provide clarity, we have included a brief explanation of each ballot issue and what is necessary for a complete YES vote for Consolidation.

Elk Creek Fire Protection District Ballot Issue 7D
This ballot measure asks you to vote “Yes / For” or “No / Against” A TOTAL APPROVED MILL LEVY OF UP TO 16 MILLS to fund the proposed consolidated FPD. The 16 Mill Levy total is based on extending the current Elk Creek FPD 12.5 Mill Levy (which otherwise disappears end of December 2023) and adding an additional property tax levy of 3.5 MILLS. Voting ‘Yes / For’ makes it financially feasible to Consolidate.

Elk Creek Fire Protection District Ballot Issue 7E
This ballot measure asks you to vote “Yes / For” or “No / Against” keeping the current Elk Creek FPD Mill Levy of 12.5 MILLS in the event consolidation is not approved. The 12.5 Mill Levy would be payable in 2024 and would continue without expiration. Voting ‘Yes / For’ amounts to zero net change in today’s property taxes.

Elk Creek Fire Protection District Ballot Question 7F
This ballot measure asks you to vote “Yes / For” or “No / Against” the consolidation of the Elk Creek Fire Protection District, the Inter-Canyon Fire Protection District, and the North Fork Fire Protection District to form the Conifer Fire Protection District as a single consolidated fire protection district. This question is asking you to vote “Yes / For” or “No / Against” on Consolidation. Voting ‘Yes / For’ issue 7F moves Consolidation forward using the funding made available by 7D.

How do I vote YES for Consolidation in the Elk Creek FPD?
In order to vote YES for Consolidation, you MUST vote “YES” for BOTH Ballot Issues 7D and 7F. A YES on one and a NO on the other is NOT a YES vote for Consolidation.

Why vote YES on Ballot Issue 7E?
In the event consolidation is not passed, to protect and extend the current Mill Levy of 12.5 MILLS, you MUST vote YES for Ballot Issue 7E. This prevents the ECFPD from having its Mill Levy reduced to 10 MILLS if consolidation doesn’t pass. This is a safety hedge, maintaining current funding levels and creating no new tax levy beyond the present.

We ask all Elk Creek FPD voters to vote YES for all three issues (7D / 7E / 7F).

I voted YES for all three because Consolidation is in the best interest of my family, my friends, and my community.

Please let me know if you have further questions. Thanks!

Pasted from other website.....seems clear and concise, take another look at the family fleeing the fire,
VISUALS r always vital, (there r other examples, if u plug in the info, the terror of trying to escape THRU
terrifying, exploding columns of flame that is so hot the car is beginning to melt....is not for the faint of heart.......GIVE THESE PROFESSIONALS YOUR SUPPORT.,THEY R PUTTING THEIR LIVES ON THE LINE FOR U.

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20 Oct 2023 15:33 #9 by ScienceChic
ramage, there are two reasons why an increase in a mill levy is proposed on the ballot:
1. all districts must be at the same mill levy when they consolidate. That means ECFPD and NFFPD has to increase, or ICFPD and NFFPD would have to take cuts in order to match the lowest mill levy rate (ECFPD's). I don't believe anyone wants to cut our fire districts' revenue. Since we have to increase, the question became what makes the most sense? A mill levy increase of ~2 to match ICFPD, or to look strategically ahead and what is needed to meet the growing needs of our mountain area due to population increases, traffic increases, and worsening fire danger in what is already one of the highest fire-risk areas in the country.

2. if you look at what's proposed by the 3 fire districts in order to not just maintain the status quo, but to proactively plan for and achieve, better service with this consolidation in regards to current and future trends, a proposed increase to a mill levy of 16 would allow the districts to hire 18 new firefighter/paramedics, raise our current firefighter/paramedics pay to be competitive with other districts so we lose fewer of our talent to better-paying jobs, renovate or rebuild 2 stations in order to house them, and to replace aging apparatus that have drastically increased in price over the past few years.

Elk Creek Fire has a proven track record of being fiscally responsible and meeting the promises made with the past 2 mill levies approved by voters. We have spent within our budget, as required by state law, and passed every 3rd-party, independent audit every year. In addition, we've saved the extra revenue and revenue that's come in above and beyond thanks to our firefighters going out-of-district on fire assignments (the firefighters not only get paid by the entity hosting them, but their salary is covered while they are gone and their home district (ECFPD) gets paid for their absence (and any apparatus they take with them that we are without). This has resulted in a savings surplus of $5M that is planned for purchasing new fire engines outright (in 2019 they cost about $700K, they are now over $1M) rather than financing them at the high interest rates we currently see and costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars more. As well, should we have a mid- to large fire in our district that requires us to call in outside resources to assist (air support, Type I or Type II Incident Management Teams), we have to pay for that and we'll need those cash reserves. Given our fire danger, it's a matter of when, not if, and it's the fiscally responsible thing to do.

On top of that, our district has applied for, and received millions of dollars in grants these past few years for equipment, infrastructure, and landscape-scale mitigation to make the community as a whole safer, and to provide district homeowners direct benefits for doing their own mitigation (with matching grants). Applying for and managing those grants takes a ton of time and effort, and it's fallen to our Wildland Captains to do that, keeping them from doing more. This has all directly benefited district residents, and we could do a lot more if we had more resources (for example, hire a full time grant writer and program manager). Thanks to the 2019 mill levy, we were able to turn the wildly successful Chipping Program into a permanent program we offer residents; prior to that, it was funded by temporary grants that we had no guarantee of winning year-over-year. The WIldland Module has grown from 1 person to a 12-person accredited crew that is sought after nationwide for wildland incidents. It would be amazing to see them achieve Hotshot Status.

Cutting our revenue is not the way to go if we are to meet the needs of this district as it grows. Yes, we will become more efficient administratively by combining, but our firefighters are underpaid, and there's a lot of work to be done to make our community safer from wildfire. I would urge you to vote yes on 7D, 7E, and 7F to help us get there.

"Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.” -King T'Challa, Black Panther

The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it. ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is. ~Winston Churchill

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20 Oct 2023 17:11 #10 by ramage
SC,
Thanks for the thoughtful and detailed explanation. Being new to the discussion of the issue, I ask is increase in mil levy both in Jefferson County as well as Park County? And will it be county wide?
I would also add that voting NO does not cut the fire districts revenue as you implied, rather keeps the levy at the same rate. Correct me if I am wrong but I can vote yes for the mill rate as exists and NO on the consolidation.
Also this portion of your explanation, ". In addition, we've saved the extra revenue and revenue that's come in above and beyond thanks to our firefighters going out-of-district on fire assignments (the firefighters not only get paid by the entity hosting them, but their salary is covered while they are gone and their home district (ECFPD) gets paid for their absence (and any apparatus they take with them that we are without). This has resulted in a savings surplus of $5M "
Does this mean that the ECFD keeps the salaries of firefighters when they are away fighting fires in other areas?
I have found the ECFD personnel to be exemplary and as you stated they have worked within their budget. Are we the people living within the ECFD to be penalized for fiscal responsibility?
I look forward to your reply.

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