Outlying property owners join Lake Dillon Fire Protection District
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Following a spike in fees for service outside its district boundaries, Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue has had an influx of applications from property owners who want to be included in the district.
The department has received 26 applications for inclusion from property owners in ‘no man’s land’ – the region north of Silverthorne not included in the fire district’s service boundaries.
“We’re pleased that these property owners have recognized the importance of supporting Lake Dillon Fire by voluntarily joining and agreeing to contribute property taxes toward maintaining a well-staffed, well-trained, well-equipped department capable of responding to all hazards,” Lake Dillon fire chief Dave Parmley stated in a recent release from the district.
The Lake Dillon Fire Protection District board will consider the petitions for inclusion at its upcoming meeting Tuesday.
The owners of approximately 200 other properties outside the district, many of them in ‘no man’s land,’ have not yet applied for inclusion.
Inclusion will require the individual property owners to pay yearly property taxes to the fire district, just as those inside the district do, but would allow them to avoid the new higher fees for out-of-district call responses in the event of an emergency.
While Lake Dillon fire officials say teams will always respond to emergency calls, regardless of location, out-of-district property owners could be hit with bills after the fact.
A fire response to a structure or wildfire now costs $1,500, in addition to the hourly fees for the vehicles that respond.
Annual taxes on an included property are estimated to be just short of $66 for every $100,000 in value.
The 13 out-of-district properties that were included in 2011 brought in an estimated $8,000 in additional property tax revenue for Lake Dillon Fire.
The fee hike came as the district confronted falling revenue related to a decline in property values. Following a 16 percent dip in property tax collections in 2012, the district is facing another 5 percent drop beginning in 2014.
The district will also put a question on the November ballot asking voters to increase its mill levy.
The proposed .741 mill increase – which would amount to an estimated $5.90 on every $100,000 in property value – would restore the department’s budget to 2009 levels.
“Historically, we’ve proven ourselves to be good stewards of public funds,” LDFR Boardmember Rob Sollenberger said when the ballot measure was approved in July. “I think going forward we have the public trust.”
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