W. Alan Webber: Growth is inevitable; vote "yes" on 4A

The Craig Rural Fire Protection District has been providing outstanding service to our community since 1921. We, as a community, are entering an era where growth is imminent and unavoidable. In the near future, we will more than likely see a new hospital and our local community college (CNCC) is going build a new facility. Let's not forget that Wal-Mart will be building and opening a new store as early as next year. With Wal-Mart will come other businesses, some of those will be small ones while others could very well be larger ones such as Lowe's, Home Depot, etc. We have all heard the predictions and wishes about what other business will follow.

The City of Craig is considering eliminating the moratorium on building heights within the city limits. New restaurants are opening all over town, new subdivisions are appearing everywhere. It is not only Craig or the surrounding area that we need to be watching -- as Steamboat and Hayden open new businesses and their housing situation changes, Craig is sure to get overflow of some sort. This could again be in the form of new business and increased housing.

With this new growth comes an increase in the demand for our local emergency services. Increased demand means increased strain on an already overburdened department. With one of the lowest mill levies in the state of Colorado, your local fire department is in need of your support to help maintain the level of service we have all become accustomed to.

As secretary/treasurer for the Craig Rural Fire Protection District's Board of Directors, I can assure you that your 1.5 mill increase will be used to maintain and upgrade our fleet as is prudent and necessary. The CRFPD is evaluating the criteria that we will use to determine what and when equipment will get replaced. In community presentations, we talked about the 10-year capital equipment replacement plan. This plan does not end after 10 years; it is dynamic and perpetual. We will continue to evaluate the need for equipment replacement and upgrades indefinitely.

This money can also be used to upgrade the fire station as required to meet future needs. The CRFPD is a business and as the owner/operators of this business, the Board of Directors and our employees need to look into and plan for the future, our future.

Future full-time staffing is inevitable. Two scenarios that will force us to consider staffing are increased growth, and something we are already dealing with, difficulty recruiting and keeping firefighters. The increase in call volume that we are already experiencing and increased firefighting training requirements are increasing the time commitment to this service. Lifestyles in an area where there is so much year-round recreation available have created a situation where it is difficult to find people who are willing and able to dedicate the time necessary to be productive members of the department.

W. Alan Webber

Secretary/treasurer, Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board of Directors

Commenting has been disabled for this item.