Amendments will cost homeowners plenty
October 28, 2010
This letter is in response to Mr. Watts. I will try using this space more effectively this time.
When I used the word “could” instead of “will” I did so because I could only speak from my experience with Grand Lake Fire; 101 will eliminate a sizable portion of the department budget received from vehicle taxes. Let’s not forget the loss of road and bridge money that will result as well.
Here are some more facts for Mr. Watts. If 61 is approved all de-Brucing efforts will be reversed. This will result in the loss of the money approved to pay off the debt obligation for new equipment and the station. With no money to pay this obligation the department will have to eliminate the paid staff that helps keep the ISO rating low.
Now the possible ways to deal with this: Charge for the use of the community room, charge the public every time the trucks respond, and/or sell equipment. The final option is very damaging because the loss of paid staff is harmful but not critical; certainly the volunteers will continue to do a good job but response times will slow. The biggest damage will come when ISO finds out all the equipment used to reduce insurance costs has been sold. This will reverse the ISO score increasing insurance ratings for all residents in the community.
The fact is the fire department can’t continue to meet its debt obligations that were already approved by the voters, if 61 passes, without eliminating staff and making enormous changes. Some of those changes would require seriously contemplating reducing equipment.
Fire departments are scored on their ability to provide a service. In order to get their improved score, Grand Lake had to update all the fire trucks; this in turn required a new station. Taxpayers approved the new equipment with a bond issue and de-Brucing. The new equipment helped change the ISO score from 6/9 to 4. This resulted in savings of 50 percent for many residents. Losing the equipment will reverse these savings.
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Why should the residents of Grand Lake suffer because others in the state aren’t happy? Doesn’t make sense to me. Leave my agency, and my local government alone. They’re doing a good job.