Vail may up fire fees |

Vail may up fire fees

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” The Vail, Colorado fire department may increase some of its charges to help cover costs, officials said.

The new fees, which will be discussed by the Vail Town Council today, would increase base costs to install a fire alarm system to $288 (a $50 increase), and a fire sprinkler system to $432 (an $82 increase). In addition, owners are charged a small percentage of the total cost of the job.

The fees have not been increased since 2003, and the old fees weren’t covering the fire department’s engineering and code checking costs, said Deputy Fire Chief Mike McGee.

“For fire alarms, we calculate voltage loss, determine the size of batteries to run it for 24 hours, and how much it takes to run an alarm for 15 minutes in an emergency situation. Then there are about 212 pages of code on where to put the devices,” McGee said. “For sprinklers it’s the same concept.”

Costs for fire services outside of town limits may go up also. A fire call that requires a regular fire engine would cost $517 per hour, up from $250 per hour. A call requiring a ladder truck will cost $775.12 per hour, up from about $750 per hour.

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The charges were last increased in 1991, McGee said.

The out-of-district costs apply to those in unincorporated areas outside of Vail, such as the Highland Meadows neighborhood west of Vail, or accidents on the eight miles of Interstate 70 from East Vail to the top of Vail Pass.

Out-of-district property owners who have a contract for services with the fire department would also see a small increase in rates.

The previous rate was 3.6 mills of the property’s assessed valuation. The new rate would be 4.021 mills.

The charges don’t apply to joint calls with other fire departments outside of town limits.

“This means that Vail taxpayers will get some costs back for what we spend when we respond to these out-of-district calls,” McGee said.

The town may also start charging for requests for fire reports at the cost of $1.25 per page.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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