Fire Board addresses proposed station No. 2

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This is an open letter to the taxpayers of the Craig Rural Fire Protection District. The fire board would like to answer the need for Station 2.

Please let us start by separating the anti-tax sentiment growing across the entire country and the local attacks relative to the performance of the men and women that respond to your calls for help.

These part-time/volunteer firefighters provide a service to the district that cannot be replaced in our current operating budget. Their part-time status saves the taxpayers of the district a significant amount of money.

The need to shift to full-time firefighters will not be made by the fire chief or the fire board, but will be determined by the part-time/volunteer firefighters.

When the fire department cannot respond to calls for service safely with the required number of firefighters and equipment due to staffing shortages, full-time firefighters will be required.

The total percentage of the district’s budget that goes to compensate our firefighters is less than 10 percent. That is the reason why the district is able to have the state of-the-art equipment and facilities needed for the services it provides.

Let’s not attack these dedicated people and the outstanding service they provide, and direct your anger to the elected officials, the fire board. The fire board is made of two retired firefighters and three non-fire related community members and conducts monthly public meetings.

Feel free to attend.

Meeting times and places are posted at the fire station. Meetings are usually at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month at the Craig Fire Station, 419 Yampa Ave.

The need for the ‘proposed’ Station 2

In 2006, the fire department came to the community and asked for increased funding of 1.5 mills to pay for fire department operations and equipment for the future.

The fire department did conduct many public meetings and attended many community groups that allowed us to present our 10-year capital plan.

We showed the need to replace equipment and upgrade facilities in this plan. We said during these many meetings that “this was our best crystal ball projection into the future.”

The fire department has not strayed from this plan and is in fact ahead of schedule due to two important reasons.

First, aggressively applying for and receiving more than $940,000 in grant money. Second, sound fiscal budget planning and management.

This board planned for this surplus. The $1.5 million at year’s end is needed to fund the 10-year plan presented back in 2006.

We are not asking for more tax money. We are just working the plan as presented. No, the specific wording did not say Station 2, but it did say facility upgrades.

It was all in the plan presented. No conspiracy.

So why now a Station 2?

Our community has changed the past five years.

Look on the hill where The Memorial Hospital and Colorado Northwestern Community College are.

What’s been built and what’s proposed to be built is more than $100 million of valuation. No reasonable person can argue that this is where the new growth is going.

The mission of the fire department is to protect lives first and property second and the environment third.

Yes, Craig’s population has not changed much, but the property values we protect has. All that new growth has been to the West. We need to be in the center of that growth and have the facilities to provide services to that area.

Station 2 will not only provide services to the hospital and college, but also improve the level of service and training of our firefighters for the entire district.

The existing station is landlocked and too small to house all the equipment needed for the community response now and in the future.

The fire department has increased its level of service to include hazardous materials response, high angle rescue, confined space rescue, swift water rescue, ice rescue, medical assistance, and arson investigation to name a few. 

All these services require many hours of training by those same part-time responders.

It is the responsibility of the fire board to provide sound fiscal controls with your money.

Again, Station 2 is being planned with no increased level of funding. It is also the responsibility of the fire board to provide the firefighters with the resources to do their job safely and efficiently.

It is the board’s job to plan for the future growth of the fire district. The board feels that exploring the feasibility of building Station 2 is needed at this time and for future district growth.

It amazes us how some people in this community criticize elected officials for no planning for the future and when the elected officials do plan for the future, then it’s not needed.

Feel free to participate in the actual work involved in the planning process, attend the monthly meetings, or better yet, run for a position on the board. 

— Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board members are: president Byron Willems, secretary/treasurer Chris Nichols, Alan Webber, John Forgay and Tony C. Maneotis

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Comments

saunders 3 years, 8 months ago

ranger520 it is a stretch when you say "They would simply do what the tax payers have said very exactly and many times and just forget about this unneeded waste of money."

Unless you believe that the opinions of mostly anonymous bloggers whether they are for or against the station constitute the opinion of the fire district and that the Daily Press Question of the Week while entertaining can be considered an accurate polling?

The only true and honest voice of the taxpayers came in the elections that passed the levy increase and elected the board members.

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Cole White 3 years, 8 months ago

It is my understanding that the cost to build the building will come from existing funding that the voters have already approved to support the fire district. Not one additional tax dollar will have to be allocated beyone what is already approved. Is that correct?

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saunders 3 years, 8 months ago

Correct. The fire district will not be asking for additional monies from the taxpayers. This is all part of the capital improvement dollars from the 2006 mill levy increase.

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justthefacts 3 years, 8 months ago

Fact: Nice try fire board, the community is not buying!!!

Fact: My mistake, the community is buying, !!!! a new training center weather we like it or not!! ( According to the fire board)

Fact: The fire board, as do most of our of our local politicians, think that they are smarter than than the tax paying 100 or so people that voted them in. ( Of course 90% of those that voted were fire department related)

Fact: The fire board should let the community vote on a new training center that has been twice rejected by the TAX PAYERS, one more time!

Fact: OH yea , the voters have voted on line and the vote is 3 -1 against !!! Any fire board members paying attention!!!!!

Just The try a new sales pitch Facts

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justthefacts 3 years, 8 months ago

Fact: Once upon a time in a land possibly not so far away, a group of people called themselves a fire board. The board consisted of Big Mac, Fire Plug, Fuzz Top, Cookie, and a man they called the Greek.

That group came togeather and rolled over to chief Billy that wanted a new fire training center he could call his own.The board said "But Billy the community said no to this twice what will we do?" Billy said "no problem I have managed to rat hole $1.5 milion dollars that the tax payers thought we needed for other things " Fire Plug and Big Mac said "Billy you better save enough to pay for our retirement for the next 30 years" Billy said "no problem!!!, I also have a couple of million$$$$$ stashed for that to, you know I will dipping into that fund myself very very soon".

The fire board said to Billy "We will help, first a letter to the editor, surley the tax payers will see our wisdom". Cookie then offered to have a barbecue, " The tax payers will love us when we show customer appreciation" he said. The Greek offered a ride in a new car and " the first dollar I ever made, you know, most of my countymen still have theirs, this is a great offering." Fuzz top then said "duh what are we talking about??" Fire Plug and Big Mac then said " We don't need to coddle to the voters we will build this palace for Billy, because our retirement jobs will be running this training center with Billy, and being the all knowing instructors!!!" " Remember Billy we want titles, and a school retirement to go with our Fire fighters retirement." Then Fire Plug said, "and health insurance, my city perks end in a short two years."!!!

Fact: Believe it or not, these are the Facts.

Just The storied Facts

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truthhurts 3 years, 8 months ago

I like story time...

Once upon a time there lived a blogger named justthefarce.

The towns folk made many a decision without him because it was apparent his light bulb was dim.

He tried and he tried to get his opinions heard but everything he said came out smelling of turd.

From the basement of his momma's house he vowed his revenge. His turd like opinions would someday be avenged.

Then came a day so packed full of joy he had discovered a way to annoy..annoy...annoy.

He sprung from his futon and signed up right quick and quickly developed his justthefarce stick.

An anonymous blog were he could spin his tall tales and where no one would know of his life's epic fails.

There is only one problem with his grand little plan cause there is a huge difference between a blogger and a man!

I am sorry this tale was just a bit curt but wow I bet that truth hurt!

Yeah...story time is FUN!

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saunders 3 years, 8 months ago

http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/2006-10-02-bloggers-courts_x.htm

It sounds to me like facts is insinuating that the the fire board has embezzled funds to circumvent the system and ranger520 has repeatedly made libel remarks about Bill Johnston and his character. Blogs do not protect you or your identity from legal action.

Just the libelous facts

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Jon Pfeifer 3 years, 8 months ago

Wow. The more Just the Facts blogs, the more I think whatever the opposite position is gains credibility. The first part of this letter from the board is completely appropriate. The volunteers who make the fire department run here are amazing and deserving of our gratitude, as we are all the beneficiaries of their service. I know some of these volunteers personally and to suggest that they do what they do for an adrenaline rush is offensive. Those that I know do what they do because they see it as a service to a community they care about. They see this service as so important that they are willing to donate their time and risk their own safety even though they have families at home who depend on them. If I felt that the need for the proposed second station were related to making them more safe, I would support such a decision. I am simply not convinced of that need. Frankly, part of the proposed second station is to replace the volunteers with a full time, paid force. That would take away some of the magic of this community of Craig, and I don't like that idea.

Even if I were convinced that there will be a need in the future, the timing right now is terrible. This is the same year that school budgets are being cut deeply (for the second year in a row). Currently, this community's potential for growth is seriously in jeopardy with changes to state energy policy. If any of the mines close, we will be doing the opposite of growing. It is absurd to plan on future growth given current events and the fact that Moffat County hasn't really grown in the past 30 years (the population was larger in 1983 than it is today).

This article states that the distribution of the property value has moved to the west, with the hospital and the new CNCC campus. From what I can tell it is 2.8 miles from the current station to the farthest point along the bypass. One of the nice things about Craig is that it is so compact (unlike the sprawl to the east of us). I don't buy the idea that getting a station within 2.8 miles of the other is necessary to be closer. I also don't buy the idea that we have outgrown the current station. If this is something that is going to support CNCC in creating a training program that will boost our economy, then there is a reason to move out of the current fire station. I just don't think we need two of them.

This 10 year plan that included "facility upgrades" but not the somewhat more important detail of a "second fire station" indicates that voters were misled about why they were passing the mill levy increase. 70% of people responding on this unscientific poll (approximately 500 people) indicated they did not support a second station. The first article claimed that it was the "will of the people" to build a second fire station. That is simply not true.

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Cole White 3 years, 8 months ago

I think JTF is missing the point. As a Special District in the state of colorado they receive a revenue from a mill levy. If they operate a budget surplus then that money goes into the district's coffers for other projects (staff, equipment, construction etc.). For example, the school district gets a set amount from designated tax revenue for their mills. Once the money comes in they (as does any district) gets to use the funds any way they see fit to operate the district. The fire district isn't doing anything that any other district in the entire state has the right to do and does every day.

They have a surplus right now and with any luck they will continue to operate efficiently and maintain a surplus. Its from this surplus that they are funding this project. If they didn't use the money then you suggest they should return it to the tax payers? That sounds a lot like TABOR the law that got this whole state in the mess that its in. If you look at our area compared with other around the state and the West you would see that our infrastructure is underfunded because our taxes are low. We get taxed very little and as a result we have very little. You are suggesting that we give money back (that we can never recover under TABOR) so that each home owner will have an extra $20 bucks they can spend at walmart on imported junk.

I am going to have to disagree with you on this JTF. While I don't know that we need a second fire station, it is progressive and if built now will serve the needs of this community for the next fifty years. What ideas do you have that would do the same?

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McGruber 3 years, 8 months ago

We should all live in caves then we would not need fireman.

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