Breckenridge voters to face fire question
BRECKENRIDGE Homeowners in and around Breckenridge will decide in May whether to chip in to help the local fire department pay for the replacement of equipment, for maintenance on its aging main fire station and to sustain its current staffing levels.The Red, White and Blue Fire Department plans to ask voters in its district for a mill levy increase of 1.8 mills from 7.2 mills to 9 mills during a May 2 special election, said chief Gary Green. That equates to about $15 per $100,000 assessed value of a home per year, or about $75 for a property worth $500,000.The districts boundaries are Hoosier Pass to the south, the Frisco town limits to the north, the Continental Divide to the east and the Tenmile Range to the west.The increase would generate a maximum of $900,000 per year, but as the department has done in past elections, it will ask voters for the ability to use up to an extra 1.8 mills, and will employ the mills in increments as the fire board sees fit, Green said. That means property taxes may not increase all at one time.The money will help pay for mechanical replacements in the Breckenridge Main Street fire station, such as a new boiler. The station is the oldest of the departments three facilities, having been built in 1977 and expanded in 1992.The department also needs to replace one of its front-line fire trucks, and will be looking to purchase some smaller apparatus to carry it through the next decade to support the goals of the departments long-range capital plan, Green said.Additionally, the money will aid the department in continuing its current level of service with 37 firefighters who man a station in Blue River, another on Tiger Road and the Main Street station 24 hours a day, seven days a week.In the past four years since the last property tax increase, Red, White and Blue has gone from a primarily volunteer department, with 59 non-paid firefighters, to a fully career firefighter operation.It now responds to all calls with a paramedic onboard instead of an EMT basic, which allows for the use of advanced life support techniques, such as the administration of emergency medications in the field.Statistically, the fire department is there in half the time (as an ambulance), which is why providing this advanced life support is so important, Green said.Green said the mill levy increase has taken into consideration staffing adjustments that may need to be made down the road if Peak 7 and Peak 8 are developed.For more information about the May election question, call the Red, White and Blue Fire Department at (970) 453-2474.Nicole Formosa can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13625, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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