Copper Mountain residents to vote on Summit Fire & EMS inclusion this November
FRISCO — Residents and property owners of the Copper Mountain Consolidated Metropolitan District will be asked to vote on a new ballot measure this November that would essentially switch up taxing entities for fire and emergency medical services in the area.
In October 2017, the Copper Mountain Metro District signed into an intergovernmental agreement with the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District to provide fire and emergency medical services. The Lake Dillon Fire Protection District is the legal name and taxing entity for the better-known Summit Fire & EMS Authority, but the organizations are one in the same.
The inclusion would serve largely as a housekeeping measure for both districts. For Copper Mountain Metro District voters, the move essentially would mean that the taxes currently collected by the metro district for emergency services would instead be collected by the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District.
“In essence, the inclusion is the final piece of this merger that has to go to the voters for approval,” Summit Fire Chief Travis Davis said. “And this is a revenue-neutral measure in that we’ll be taking a property tax of 9.055 mills from the Copper Mountain Metro District and transferring that to the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District, currently doing business as Summit Fire & EMS.”
Approving the measure wouldn’t cost property owners anything additional in taxes. Summit Fire & EMS would assess an operational property tax of 9.055 mills on Copper Mountain properties, and in turn the metro district would reduce its operational property tax by the same amount so that net taxation remains the same.
The metro district would continue to provide other services, including water, sewer, internet and television.
According to the summary of the ballot item, approving the measure would help to streamline Summit Fire & EMS operations by reducing administrative and financial redundancies. The organization currently has to create three separate budgets, participate in three separate board meetings per month and conduct three separate audits.
“It truly is just economy of scale,” Davis said. “It’s the ability to bring as many resources to bear as needed depending on the incident. And if we can do it with fewer government entities, I think it’s in the best interest ultimately in the goal of providing emergency services to the residents and guests of the service area.”
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The summary also includes arguments against the proposal, noting that the consolidation could be contrary to the desires of voters who prefer smaller government entities.
Summit Fire & EMS will continue providing full fire and emergency medical services to the area through its Copper Mountain station regardless of the upcoming vote.
If voters choose to pass the measure, officials would go to work to legally rename the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District under its better-known moniker, officially creating the Summit Fire & EMS Fire Protection District.
The measure would impact only a small section of the greater Summit County community. To be eligible to vote on the ballot item, individuals must be registered to vote in Colorado, and be either a resident or property owner in the Copper Mountain Metro District. Spouses or civil union partners of property owners also will be able to vote on the measure. Trusts, corporations and LLCs that own property in the district won’t be eligible for a vote.
Ballots will be mailed to registered voters in Copper Mountain beginning the week of Oct. 12. Eligible voters who live outside of the metro district boundaries won’t automatically receive a ballot but can request one from the Summit County Clerk’s Office.
Individuals with more questions should contact Summit Fire & EMS’s designated election official Mary Hartley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-262-5100.
Shall the following described area become a part of the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District upon the following conditions?
Description of area: All real property located within the boundaries of the Copper Mountain Consolidated Metropolitan District.
Summary of conditions:
- If the proposed inclusion is approved by a majority of the eligible electors, Copper Mountain Consolidated Metropolitan District shall reduce the maximum operational mill levy it can certify (including any prior voter-approved mill levy adjustments) by 9.055 mills for taxes assessed in 2020 and collected in 2021 and each year thereafter; provided, however, that nothing herein shall preclude Copper Mountain from thereafter seeking voter approval to increase its operational mill levy;
- Unless approved by the voters in advance, and subject to prior voter-approved mill levy adjustments, the maximum property tax mill levy that may be imposed by Lake Dillon Fire Protection District is 9.055 mills, exclusive of refunds and abatements; and
- The proposed inclusion is subject to the terms and conditions of the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District and Copper Mountain Consolidated Metropolitan District pre-inclusion and fire authority dissolution intergovernmental agreement dated April 3, 2020.
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