Letter: Voting yes on issue A is a vote for our firefighters
The Eagle River Fire Protection District is asking its voters to approve Issue A in this election. I urge its voters to vote yes on Issue A in order to maintain ERFPD’s current level of service. Issue A does not authorize ERFPD to raise taxes.
Now more than ever, this is the time to support local first responders. As the fire chief for Vail Fire and Emergency Services, I know first-hand of the expansive area protected by ERFPD. This area includes the communities of Camp Hale, Tennessee Pass, Red Cliff, Minturn, EagleVail, Avon, Mountain Star, Wildridge, Beaver Creek (contractual agreement), Bachelor Gulch, Arrowhead, Homestead, Edwards, Lake Creek, Singletree, Pilgrim Downs, Cordillera, Bellyache Ridge, Red Sky Ranch and portions of Interstate 70 and U.S. Highway 6 and 24.
As a special district, Eagle River Fire depends almost exclusively on property taxes to fund the services it provides. Because of the property-tax limiting provision of the Colorado constitution, ERFPD continues to face reductions in its residential property tax rate. While this important revenue source continues to decline, ERFPD’s calls for service continue to increase.
I also know there are days when ERFPD’s first responders simultaneously respond to incidents from Camp Hale to Wolcott. Even the best trained firefighters can’t be in more than one place at a time. Reduced funding means diminished ability to respond to simultaneous emergencies quickly, and reduced capability to keep manageable incidents from becoming large-scale disasters that can impact residents, businesses and visitors across the entire valley.
Lastly, I know that when an emergency occurs, whether it’s a wildland fire or a person suffering from COVID-19, seconds count. ERFPD needs the necessary funding to respond quickly and effectively to the kinds of emergencies we experience in our community on a daily basis.
A yes vote on Issue A will protect ERFPD’s funding, so that Eagle River Fire may continue to protect the communities it serves —our neighbors — and the business upon which we all depend.
Please vote yes on Issue A.
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.