Behind the headlines

Building a new fire station

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Q. Doesn't the North Routt Fire Protection District need new equipment more than a new station? Why doesn't the district just get new equipment and store it at the old station?

A. The primary reason for building a new station at the north end of the district is that 80 percent of our calls originate in that area and most of our volunteers live in that area also. The new station will dramatically reduce the response time on the majority of ambulance and fire calls. Being faster on scene, with our equipment, means a greater chance of success.

Q. Why did the district chose the intersection of County Road 129 and C.R. 62 as the location for the new station?

A. This location is in close proximity to 80 percent of our calls and most of our volunteers. It is the biggest concentration of population and the area where most of the growth over the next 20 years is expected to occur. It is also the center of visitor activities.

Note - There are two intersections of 129 and 62. Our proposed location is the northern intersection near Steamboat Lake.

Q. So, the district can afford the equipment but not a station as well?

A. About 65 percent of the building is being paid for with a state grant ($200,000), contributions ($250,000) and the county's share of the building (about $150,000).

As a result most of the money from the taxpayers will be used to purchase new equipment.

Q. Who can vote on the bond election/tax increase this November?

A. Any registered voter in the fire district (i.e. Precinct 9) can vote on this issue.

Also, any property owner who is a registered voter in Colorado can vote.

Property owners registered to vote in Colorado outside of Precinct 9 need to contact the County Clerk's office at 870-5556 (www.co.routt.co.us/clerk or e-mail kweinland@Co.Routt.Co.US) to obtain a ballot.

Property owners registered outside Colorado are apparently not eligible to vote on this issue.

If you have a question about voting registration please contact the County Clerk she's the expert on this issue.

Q. How much will taxes increase for residents of the district?

A. The easiest way to calculate your own increase is to look at your last year's tax bill, find the line for "North Routt Fire" (it's usually the last or next to last line) and double the amount.

That's about what your new tax will be. On a house with a market value of $250,000 (which is usually appraised for tax purposes at about $25,000) the tax bill should increase about from $74 to $152. Remember, however, any of our residents in the north part of our district (within five miles of the new station) should see a decrease in their property insurance, which will offset some or even all of the tax increase.

Q. Can residents do anything to help?

A. Yes! First of all vote! and you can't vote if you're not registered so register to vote the deadline is Oct. 9. Secondly, and maybe most important of all volunteer!

We have 17 volunteers. As our community grows, we can definitely use more.

Please contact Peter Baillie, fire chief, or any board member or volunteer if you have any interest (you don't need special skills we provide the training.)

Q. Because the State Parks create the majority of our visitors, what are they doing to help?

A. The State Parks have long been an active supporter of the district. Many of our volunteers work at the State Parks. They have helped us get the land for the station, the brush truck we use for fires was given to us by the Colorado Forest Service and we have a State of Colorado Energy Impact grant for $200,000.

Q. What are the district's boundaries?

A. Our district runs north/south from Big Creek to Columbine and east/west from Pilots Knob/Sand Mountain to the Continental Divide. We do make calls north of Columbine and work cooperatively with the Forest Service on calls in the Routt National Forest.

We also have a Mutual Aid Agreement with the other districts in the county.

Q. Will you close the old station?

A. No. We will also keep it open. That way the entire district benefits from the expanded coverage.

Q. Are efforts being made to get GOCo money or other grants?

A. We aren't eligible for GOCo money. But we are applying for other grants.

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