Vail Daily letter: ‘No’ on 60, 61, 101 |

Vail Daily letter: ‘No’ on 60, 61, 101

George Wilson
President, Eagle River Professional Firefighters Association
Vail, CO Colorado

The Eagle River Professional Firefighters Association is asking for your support in the upcoming election. The 2010 ballot includes three measures, Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101, that would decimate funding for the Eagle River Fire Protection District, which provides you with fire, rescue and emergency medical services. Our firefighters urge you to vote “no” on measures 60, 61 and 101.

These measures would substantially reduce revenues and prohibit lending. As a result, the fire district that employs your firefighters would be forced to lay off firefighters and close fire stations. Reducing personnel and closing stations would result in a dramatic decrease in our ability to provide effective fire, rescue and emergency medical services.

Over the past several years, the fire district and firefighters association have worked together to improve staffing levels at each fire station in order to improve community service and meet National Standards for Professional Fire Departments. Currently, your fire engines are staffed with three or four firefighters, enabling us to do our job quickly, effectively and safely. If these ballot measures are passed, the district will close fire stations, leading to both longer response times to emergency calls and the inability of our Fire Department to handle simultaneous calls for help.

Neighboring fire departments also may be reduced in size. These potential cutbacks have us wondering who would be able to back us up when large-scale incidents happen.

The question voters must ask themselves is this: Are you willing to drastically reduce the level of service that your Fire Department provides when there is a fire, a car accident or a medical incident?

The Eagle River Fire Protection District generates nearly all of its funding from property taxes based upon the assessed value of homes and businesses within the district’s boundaries. With property values already decreasing anywhere from 20 percent to 30 percent, the revenue stream for the district is expected to decrease substantially whether 60, 61 and 101 pass or not. The fire district already has begun scaling back expenditures, including the layoffs of three high-ranking individuals and delaying building a badly needed fire station in Avon. All of the cost-saving measures enacted by the district were implemented to keep every fire engine rolling out of the stations appropriately staffed 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

If these ballot measures pass, the district will have no choice but to reduce the firefighting staff substantially, lowering the service that we provide to you.

The Eagle River Professional Firefighters ask you to vote “no” on 60, 61 and 101.

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