Bill Snare: Read the fine print

To the editor:

The fire department is in control and out of control.

In 2006, the voters of this community voted for a mill levy tax for the benefit of the fire department. This tax was three mills, which was more than the mill levy for the schools and justice center combined.

The lobbyists for the fire department bill did a great job of brainwashing the voters, and this was approved by the voting public.

What the voters failed to do was read the full bill — in the fine print it stated the fire department would answer to no one as to how they spent this taxpayer money except themselves.

The tax was collected beginning in 2007 and since that time the fire department has spent a few million on equipment, etc. Now they have more than $1.5 million in reserves.

I have to ask, what good has come from this bill during the last four years?

To answer this, we must review what has taken place during this time.

Let’s see now.

The Country Mall burned to the ground and it was a short three blocks from the fire department. The Craig Motel, which was five blocks away from the fire department and a straight line up Yampa Avenue, was mostly destroyed.

The prep shop at Victory Motors was a total loss and it was on a good access street from the fire department.

Now the fire department wants to build a new firehouse, and I say what for?

The logical thing to do is rescind this bill to a one-mill levy and give the other two mills to the school district, which already had to make cuts to meet a $1 million deficit. Now the school district is faced with another 14-percent cut from the state, which means more cuts, job reductions and education suffering.

My friends, let this be a lesson to us. Please read each voting bill completely before saying yes. Also, the fire department has used this bill to meet all the criteria of a government agency, and that is spend, spend, spend.

My hat goes off to all the volunteer firefighters. They rank right up there with the soldiers who fight for us in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Bill Snare

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Comments

Jon Pfeifer 3 years ago

I don't think that the criticism of the bad results with these fires is necessarily fair. In my (basic) research of firefighting, the most important factor as to whether a building is saved or not is not how close the fire station is, but at what point the fire is reported. This of course undermines the idea that a station on the "west side" of town is needed to be close to potential fires there (because it would be only about 3-5 minutes away from station number 1 with a firetruck that gets to skip all the lights). From what I understand, the measure of an effective firefighting effort is whether the fire progressed from one stage to another stage between the time the fire was reported and the time the fire is extinguished. I don't know enough about those fires to assess how well the fire department did, but obviously distance of the fire station was not a factor there.

I agree with the conclusion of this editorial. The extra funds should be returned, the mill levy repealed or decreased, and talk of and especially spending money on a second fire station should cease. The problem with public finance is that all government entities know that they have to spend the money they have or they will lose it. Then, once they have spent all their money, they can claim they need more. At a time when other governmental entities are facing extreme cuts to their budget, it just doesn't make sense to build something that is unnecessary.

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craigamerica 3 years ago

Great letter. I think this mill levy is an excellent example of why the citizens should make sure the levy has a sunset, or ending. If the citizens want to continue the mill levy, we can vote it in again. In fact, perhaps we should vote out all the mill levies which don't have a sunset clause so we don't get into this problem again.

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TSRT 3 years ago

Why would these men and women want to volunteer and waste their time and energy to save an ungreatful life(s) like yourself(s)? How many of you people would get out of bed in the wee hours of the morning to save a life/burning building? Have any of you people that are commenting in the "Letter to the Editor" ever applied or even thought about applying and volunteering your time, knowledge and/or energy? Maybe some of the energy that you are using to complain about the situation could be used in a more useful way than this, by completing the application process for Craig Fire Rescue. From what I understand Craig Fire Rescue is always accepting applications!

Training center?? Well well. Let me ask you this question? Have any of you people tried to train with only half of the supplies you needed? Does not work does it? How can you have half the fire department gone to Hayden or Rifle and the other half here or all the staff gone at one time? Do these people that risk their lives to save yours not need to all train together? Last I checked any business must work TOGETHER to make it succeed! Would you want a half trained doctor doing sugery on you or a half trained banker taking care of your money? My answer would be NO!

I know for a fact that these volunteers take pride in their jobs and act in the situations they are put in with the best of their knowledge and abilities.

The Firemans Prayer When duty call's me, oh Lord, Wherever flames may rage. Give me the strength to save some life Whatever be its age.

Help me embrace a little child Before it is too late Or save an older perosn from The horror of that fate

Enable me to be alert. and oh Lord, guide my every move, for life is so precious, please don't let us loose.

I want to fill my calling and To give the best in me To guard my every neighbor And protect their property

Andi if according to thy will, That I must give my life, Then with thy protcting hand my Lord I pray thee, protect my children and my wife.

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TSRT 3 years ago

Can you start a live fire at the Craig Station or Trapper Mine or In The City of Craig? Are these trees and bridges in town or out of town? Not sure I know of any bridges that could be used for training purposes in The City of Craig, Is burning in town in a large area permissible or would that just raise rukus and cause more letters to the editor? I am sure fires in town are not feasible, that would cause possible road closures/ other structures that could be in danger?

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justthefacts 3 years ago

Fact: The Fire Board and Fire Department LIED to the citizens about their needs!!!

Fact: As long as the present chief is the chief the Fire Department will have no credibility in this community.

Fact: As long as Mr. Big Mac is on the Board ( Former fire chief that also fudged the facts) the board will have zero credibility!!!!

Comment: You go Als, Ranger, who ever you are this week. Your comments are right on!!!

Fact: The Mill levy needs to be repealed, it was voted on under false pretenses.

Just The glad to be home to see the stupid true Facts continue

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saunders 3 years ago

"My hat goes off to all the volunteer firefighters. They rank right up there with the soldiers who fight for us in Afghanistan and Iraq." but they aren't worthy of 3.497 mills they receive. A mill amount that is still lower than most towns and cities.

I feel sorry for those who so selflessly serve on our Fire Department.

I feel sorry that they have to read day after day that they are inadequate, dishonest and unappreciated.

I feel sorry that we are against providing them with every opportunity to make it home to there families after each emergency.

I feel sorry that a whopping $23 for each $100,000 of assessed value is to much money to provide equipment, facilities and even possibly an in house training facility.

I pose these questions. Is there any difference in the dangers a Craig Fire Rescue firefighter and a big city full time fire department firefighter will encounter at an active house fire? Is the possibility of injury or god forbid death less likely to happen here because we are a small town? The simple answer is NO.

I supported all the mill increases even the ones that failed...WHY?..because I couldn't imagine having to look a widow in the eye and know I said that there lives were not worth the money.

Here are some true facts:

Since 01/01/2011 - 26 Firefighters have died in the line of duty.

I will be at the next fire board meeting...will you?

I hope the fire board continues to do what is best for the community and the firefighters.

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justthefacts 3 years ago

Fact: $23.00 does not buy a Fire Station

Fact: The ones that loose everytime there is a mill levy increase is Tri State, Colowyo, Trapper Mine and every business in town that pays 3-4 times the amount of the residential property owner.

Fact: Many jobs in other sectors are affected when people like the fire department abuse the system.

Fact: The schools and fire department have cost our industries millions $$$$ with bond issues and mill levy increases!!!

Fact: Fire fighters fight fires for the fun and thrill of it, no different than riding a moto cross bike. (Only someone else gets to pay for their fun, Taxpayers!!!!)

Fact: The adrenaline rush is the same, danger is an after thought.

Fact: Some, mostly firefighters,and their families, ( saunders) glorify the position of being a fire fighter.

Fact: Quote from soon to be Chief Bill Johnston after 911: "After 911 everybody loves firefighters, now is the time to get this mill levy through for a training center, they (the public) wouldn't dare vote against it".

Fact: Bil was wrong!!!!!

Just The loving feeling is gone Facts

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saunders 3 years ago

You left out the most important fact of all.

Will you attend the next fire board meeting and voice your opinions (facts) or will you continue to live your life on the sidelines and complain about those who get in the game?

I am betting on the latter.

After 185 posts you have shown a willingness to chime in on everything but do you do anything?

Just The I will only blog about it Facts

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JenniferSokia 3 years ago

@justthefacts- What a slap in the face that you say, "Fact: Fire fighters fight fires for the fun and thrill of it, no different than riding a moto cross bike." Do you think my husband risks his life and risks leaving me and our two young children behind for the thrill of it? NO. He works a full-time job every day, serves our community through volunteer positions with the Lion's Club, The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Integrated Community, and other organizations, and the last thing he wants to do is spend more time away from his family. He wakes up in the middle of the night to help people and continues on with no sleep. He has a passion for helping others and wants to make a difference in our community. Do you think fighting a fire in the middle of the night in 20 below temperatures and then having to watch the devastating emotions of the building owner (whom he is very close with) is thrilling? Do you think performing CPR on someone unable to save them is thrilling? Do you think missing our daughter’s birthday party and other family functions to try and save someone is thrilling? Seeing someone in pain or injured, lose their life/property is NEVER thrilling.

I tell you what..next time someone you care about needs medical assistance or is caught in a fire, be THANKFUL that you have the opportunity to make that 911 call.

Every community needs the firefighters. They are heroes and sacrifice so much of themselves to be there for you and everyone in this community.

What is sad is you hide behind your "justhtefacts" name. You criticize a lot yet I question if you have ever chosen to be a part of the solution through running for mayor, city council, county commissioner etc. or serving in any volunteer public service capacity like the fire department. I respect people that have differing opinions but not those that sit on the sidelines and put others down. Your "facts" are facts mixed with a lot of your opinions. So might I suggest you change your username to "justmyopinion."

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justthefacts 3 years ago

Fact: When a person starts finding reasons to stay away from home it usually indicates family problems.

Just trouble in The relationship Facts ?

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CarlSokia 3 years ago

Is that why you got divorced? Because you were spending too much time away from home serving others?

Fact: Not all relationships are the same. Some of us can actually serve in our homes as well as in our community without making excuses like, "We just have other interests and there are times that you really have to be there."

Just the "I know who you are" facts...

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jt2009 3 years ago

I have to disagree with Mr Snare. He himself said that two buildings burned down one 3 blocks away and another 5 blocks away. I'm pretty sure respone time would go down if the FD had the facilities to house some firefighters, plus if they were to not go full time with any firefighters it would enable a shorter response time for firefighters living closer to that second station. The part that I do agree with is that possibly the voters did not fully read the bill, how is that in anyway shape or form the fire board's fault? If people want to vote without fully understanding what they are voting for that is their own problem. Also as you pointed out they don't have to ask permision from anyone to do anything. Yet they are, they are coming forward and asking for public opinion because what they do is all about our community. @Justthefacts: I have to say that out of most of the post's that I have read, that have been posted by you, are insulting someone somehow. I believe that someone who has such a low self esteem that they must put others down to make yourself feel better need some positive in thier lives. Well from what I can tell is you seem to stand up for what you believe in, good for you, not everyone has the drive to do so. Unfortunately your constant posts that are full of insults and misinformation is not as helpful as you may think. I do believe that it might be a good idea for you reevaluate the way you treat people. I find that the better you treat people the better they treat you in return. This is not fact just OPINION, might be time for you to learn the difference.

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justthefacts 3 years ago

Fact: One must have been married first to become divorced.

FACT: Not the Facts!!!! Sorry

Fact: Many dispute the facts but never with facts, only with emotion.

Fact: The facts are the facts which are you and you and you.

Comment: Someone, anyone, directly dispute the facts with facts!!! You can only call the facts names and want to get even?????

Fact: The Facts never stop because you never stop.

Fact: We the Facts are everywhere, we know the facts because we are you!!!!

Just The multiple person facts Facts

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saunders 3 years ago

I accept your challenge. I will dispute the facts and not the fact that I just don't like you.

Your Fact: $23.00 does not buy a Fire Station.

True but add all those $23.00 up and it will. In fact in adds up to the annual budget of the fire department. SCORE – Facts -1 Saunders - 0

Your Fact: The ones that loose everytime there is a mill levy increase is Tri State, Colowyo, Trapper Mine and every business in town that pays 3-4 times the amount of the residential property owner.

I don’t believe Colowyo is in the fire district and I know it supports its own ambulance service that works with both Craig Fire and TMH covering a section of Highway near the mine. Businesses are taxed the same 3.497 mills that everyone else is. Mills are based off assessed value so how exactly are they charged 3-4 times more? SCORE – Facts -1 Saunders - 1

Your Fact: Many jobs in other sectors are affected when people like the fire department abuse the system.

I would like to challenge your source on this fact. Can you provide data to support it? Without you proving it I cannot dispute it. I would say that the fire department pays 29 paid on call firefighters who spend those dollars locally at businesses. Craig Fire also purchases supplies and equipment from local business supporting the local economy. The payroll and bills of the department are public record. SCORE – Facts -1 Saunders - 2

Your Fact: The schools and fire department have cost our industries millions $$$$ with bond issues and mill levy increases!!!

School district and fire departments across the nation have cost industries millions. Are you saying our mill levy is higher than the national average? Please provide your source and or clarification? SCORE – Facts -1 Saunders - 3

Your Fact: Fire fighters fight fires for the fun and thrill of it, no different than riding a moto cross bike. (Only someone else gets to pay for their fun, Taxpayers!!!!)

There are 29 firefighters on the department to assume you know the motivation for them all is laughable and can in no way shape or form be proven and as a result cannot be dis-proven – Your opinion. SCORE – Facts -1 Saunders - 4

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saunders 3 years ago

whoopin the facts continued....

Your Fact: The adrenaline rush is the same, danger is an after thought.

The Fact: Again there are 29 firefighters on the department to assume you know the motivations for them all are laughable and can in no way shape or form be proven and as a result cannot be dis-proven – Again your opinion. SCORE – Facts -1 Saunders - 5

Your Fact: Some, mostly firefighters,and their families, ( saunders) glorify the position of being a fire fighter.

The Fact: They may glorify it and it is well within their right to voice there or my own opinion it is also possible that some don’t glorify the position. How does this pertain to the need of a second station? I would say that is clearly an opinion. SCORE – Facts -1 Saunders - 6

Your Fact: Quote from soon to be Chief Bill Johnston after 911: “After 911 everybody loves firefighters, now is the time to get this mill levy through for a training center, they (the public) wouldn't dare vote against it”.

The Fact: If he said that I would agree it was inappropriate but I would hold off on judgment until I see the source. Until proven SCORE – Facts -1 Saunders - 7

Your Fact: Bil was wrong!!!!!

The Fact: Bil who is this Bil? If you are referring to Bill again I will hold my judgment until I see a source. But I am sure some where sometime a Bil was wrong. SCORE – Facts -2 Saunders - 7

Just for your future reference. fact/fakt/Noun 1. A thing that is indisputably the case. 2. Information used as evidence or as part of a report or news article. Source wikipedia

Just The you just got owned Facts

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cclarue 3 years ago

Saunders - unfortunately, JTF is right about businesses taxed at 3-4 times. He should know. He owns a business. You are right that we pay the same mill. But, business is a higher rate. That is why politicians keep saying our state is not friendly to business and can't attract out of state commerce.

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Cole White 3 years ago

I think what most of you are missing is the fact that the Fire District is just playing by the rules that the State of Colorado put in place by way of voter mandates and legislative initiatives. If you don't like how special districts are organized and run in the State then you will have to make changes to all the special districts not just our fire district.

The letter stated that the fire district revieves the maximum three mills. That is probably true since the tax payer bill of rights limits how many mills can be added from year to year. But its not just our fire district, almost every fire district in the state is funded the same mills, ours just so happens to operate an a surplus because of its structure. I find it stupid that anyone would suggest that we can some how re-allocate the fire districts mills to the school district. You have the stupid TABOR law that prevents anything like that from happening to thank and the short sighted Republican party (Yes I am a registered member of the Grand Old Party, but they screwed the pooch on that legislation) for enacting the type of law that took Colorado from one of the top states in education, healthcare, and infrastructure to one of the worst in the country.

You can complain all you want about what they are doing with the money, but just remember, they are playing by the rules that every district in the state is playing by and the rules that we the voting public passed or had passed by our electred reps. Don't cry to the Fire District ...... go cry to gov. Hickenlooper if you don't like it.

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saunders 3 years ago

@cclarue I stand corrected on that fact. Thanks for the correction.

The mill charged is still 3.497 but the assessment rate is higher. With the current TABOR and Gallagher Amendment that is unfortunately the cost of doing business in Colorado and it makes little sense to blame a small special district for bigger issues at the state level.

Readjusted score - Facts 3 - Saunders 6

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purplehornet 3 years ago

Well heres an indisputable fact for you. Throughout all of human history the opinion of the majority carried far more weight than that of the select few(at least for the most part). As I grew up here over the years occasionally I would hear people jokingly refer to the local firefighters as "GLORY SEEKERS", however in the recent years I hear people refering to them as such as well as far worse nicknames everytime that they are brought up in a conversation, and these statements are not in quite the joking manner as they used to be. Granted many of you who support them don't hear this very often as many people try to be polite and not offend those of you. I can attest to this as to the fact that I know many of these of people are relatives and or family of local firefighters. But they have their opinions and many more are starting to agree with them and becoming more open with their opinions. As for JTF, keep up the good work, ya got em on their toes and its quite enjoyable to read their responses especially when they try to use sarcasm in a manner to wher it makes them feel as though their coming across in a highly intellectual manner!!!! p.s. there are a few good firefighters out there amongst the GLORY SEEKERS!

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craiggirl 3 years ago

One comment on this entire discussion: the firefighters should NOT be the target of our accusations. If there are questions or problems with this plan, then direct them to the fire board. The firefighers do their jobs and THAT'S IT. Adreneline junkies or not - they are the ones who respond to the calls. We WANT them responding to calls. There are fewer than 30 men and women who commit to this job. So be angry, suspicious, cautious, whatever - but direct iyour comments to those are elected to serve.

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slipknot 3 years ago

I've read all these comments and it appears to be getting pretty heated and emotional, on both sides. I have my opinions, but unlike JTF, and the rest of y'all I'm going to make one observation, one statement, and then shut up. When I was younger 'adreneline junkies' signed on the line and went to places like Viet Nam, and when that was done, we independently went to places like Angola, Libya, and Yemen, and places in the Philipines, where we could practice our skills. That said, it appears you have 30 or so semi-professional firefighters and no where to play. Everyone is skirting the real issue or just avoiding saying it; will another fire house or station mean that Craig is ready for full time or professional fighters with a real full time 'chief' and administration, instead of 30 part timers or volunteers? You'd need 3 times that many, let's see 3 shifts per week 20 people per shift. Your mill excess will be taken care of in short fashion and jobs created, and public workers unionized, that sounds about right.

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