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Wise investment in safety

Don Rogers

Growth is nipping at two local fire departments. People, traffic, development. You name it, it’s growing and at a fast clip. That increases the demands on emergency services. When the call comes – as it does more and more often – lives often are at stake. So in the land of almost absurdly low property taxes, the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District based in Eagle and the Eagle River Fire Protection District based in Avon seek small increases to keep up with the demands on them.Eagle River, the mid-valley department, needs eight more firefighters, to replace vehicles up to a quarter of a century old and to renovate fire stations.Greater Eagle, whose district runs from the airport area to Wolcott and still helps district-less Bond and McCoy, needs more than its one station and to be able to of course operate them.The return on the investment most dramatically comes in saved lives. But home insurance costs come down with improvements in service, too.Greater Eagle Fire Chief Jon Jon Asper say he believes that getting this tax increase passed now will allow the district to catch up with today’s growth and more easily avoid requests for tax increases in the future. Call it the theory of pay a little now or a lot more later. In this case, it makes sense.Greater Eagle seeks to raise its property tax from $63.10 per $100,000 of home value by $16.50 a year to $79.60 per $100,000. For a home worth $500,000 that would be an increase of $82.50 a year. The Eagle River district is blessed with higher property values, which lowers the rate charged to individual property owners, though not necessarily the bill itself. Their request would add $13.86 per $100,000 of home value a year to the fire tax. The homes in this district tend to cost more than downvalley homes of similar size, so the actual tax bill for service between the departments is closer than it might appear.But in either case, voters would be prudent to approve these measures. Both departments deliver value for the expense. This is not to say life is cheaper in these districts, just that both take their fiscal responsibilities seriously, too.Please take a few moments to vote next Tuesday. Eagle River’s polling places are at the fire stations in Avon, Edwards and Minturn. Greater Eagle’s poll is at their station on Third Street in Eagle. Here’s an opportunity to invest wisely in our own safety.


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