Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District is on the ballot this November asking voters to consider two ballot questions. The first question (7B) is to increase the operating mill levy. The second question (7C) is to allow the District to bond $7.5 million for apparatus, buildings and equipment.
We know that our voters have questions on these proposals and we want to answer your questions. This post is about Ballot Question 7C, the Bond Issue.
CRFPD’s 2015 master plan, developed by Almont Associates in conjunction with CRFPD, identified several areas of capital improvement that needed to be addressed in a timely manner. Under Section 2.6 Strategies/Goals/Objectives, Goal 4.1 – “Develop and implement a Capital Improvement Plan based on current and anticipated programs, services and revenues”., identifies several objectives to address capital improvement needs. Apparatus and Facilities improvements are two primary objectives to meet this goal.
Funding For Replacement
In 2015, CRFPD’s master plan addresses funding for replacement in section 10.5, “As has previously been discussed, CRFPD has been unable to address the replacement of equipment as a result of the downturn in the economy. The leadership of CRFPD has endeavored to curtail expenditures as much as possible, but still insure the department can still deliver services. This has required a delay in replacing equipment and much of the current inventory of equipment has reached a critical point in its useful life. To continue this pattern of cost avoidance is highly unrealistic and only serves to delay the inevitable while placing the safety of citizens and responders in question…”
To accomplish these goals, a bond is necessary. The District is asking for voters to approve a $7.5 million bond. Due to current market conditions and lower interest rates, the District is able to roll the current bond in to a new bond and only increase taxes about $10 per year (for a $600,000 home) for three years. After that time, the bond rate is expected to be less than taxpayers are currently paying.
CRFPD has an aging fleet of emergency apparatus that needs to be upgraded in order to ensure that our firefighters and medics are able to safely respond to emergencies in modern, safe and effective apparatus. This is very important not only for fire apparatus but also for the ambulances and rescue vehicles that we use to care for sick and injured citizens in the communities that we serve.
The standard useful service life of a large fire apparatus is 15-20 years.
The standard useful service life of a wildland brush unit is 10-12 years.
The standard useful service life of an ambulance is 5-7 years.
*these are only some of CRFPD’s apparatus that need to be replaced. The corresponding mill levy proposal will help fund replacement of future needs.
Current Vehicle Age Location Replacement Vehicle Cost
1984 Fire Engine 34 years Station 82 (Redstone) $350,000.00
1993 Fire Engine 25 years Station 83 (Marble) $350,000.00
1993 Fire Engine 25 years Station 84 (Westend) $350,000.00
2001 Ambulance 17 years Station 81 (Carbondale) $240,000.00
2005 Ambulance 13 years Station 81 (Carbondale) $240,000.00
2006 Ambulance 12 years Station 81 (Carbondale) $240,000.00
2005 Rescue Squad 13 years Station 83 (Marble) $150,000.00
2005 Brush Truck 13 years Station 81 (Carbondale) $150,000.00
1999 Brush Truck 19 years Station 81 (Carbondale) $150,000.00
1971 Brush/Tanker Truck 47 years Station 83 (Marble) $250,000.00
1973 Brush/Tanker Truck 45 years Station 81 (Carbondale) $250,000.00
1992 Water Tender Engine 26 years Station 82 (Redstone) $250,000.00
1992 Water Tender Engine 26 years Station 85 (Mo. Heights) $250,000.00
3 Utility Vehicles 16 years District wide $150,000.00
Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) are the airpacks and masks that firefighters utilize when entering a structure fire or any area where the atmosphere is Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health (IDLH). SCBA are life to a firefighter in those circumstances. As with almost all other important firefighting and medical equipment, SCBAs have a limited service life. CRFPD’s SCBAs are 10 years old and aging out of compliance with current National Fire Protection Association standards. The district’s 44 SCBA along with individual firefighter air masks must be replaced within the next 1-2 years.
Training Facility and Grounds $1,750,000
CRFPD has long recognized training as the “Golden Key” to the delivery of excellent care and safe incident operations. The 2015 master plan in section 7.12 states: “A training facility is very important for the purposes of fire personnel training. Currently CRFPD has no location to conduct “live fire” activities. Any time the delivery of “live fire” training is required to certify new firefighters or conduct in-service training, personnel must travel nearly an hour to burn facilities in Gypsum or Rifle to utilize their facilities. When CRFPD personnel attend training at either of these facilities the community loses the responders to extended periods of time and reduces the capabilities of the department.”
Over the past several years, CRFPD has designed and planned for a training facility and grounds on district property located next to the CRFPD administration facility. This training facility will not only allow CRFPD to conduct the necessary firefighting evolutions, but it is also designed to integrate a multi-disciplinary training approach. This approach includes:
Training Equipment $150,000
CRFPD currently conducts regular trainings throughout the district, specifically in Carbondale, Redstone and Marble fire stations. One of the great challenges to delivering training over CRFPDs large geographical area, is in delivering training sessions to multiple audiences. This requires more manpower and hours to ensure the same training to different locations.
CRFPD has been working on developing modern delivery methods to bridge this gap. This includes audio/video links to different stations so that many more members can participate in a single training session. Upgrading CRFPDs ability to deliver important training to all members is a high priority. This will also allow responders to stay and train in their ‘home’ area and be available for response. CRFPD has to be able to make quality training as accessible as we can for our volunteer members.
CRFPD operates out of five fire stations located throughout the district. These stations are located in:
Two stations in the fire district have been identified for needed facility upgrade and expansion.
The Marble station expansion will allow for the construction of an expanded training room and command post, along with kitchen and bathroom facilities. This expansion will enable CRFPD to safely and adequately manage the incidents that occur along with enabling members to conduct training in an atmosphere conducive to learning.
In addition to training and incident response CRFPD is planning to build an apartment above the expanded portion to provide needed housing and volunteer response in the Marble area.
The proposed expansion will provide 2 additional truck bays to house an ambulance and a wildfire response engine. Adding timely emergency medical and fire response to this area has been identified as a high priority for several years.
Maintenance Facility $500,000
CRFPDs 2015 master plan identified the maintenance division as vital to the safe operation of vehicles and equipment as well as the upkeep and repair of facilities of the district. Section 10.1 and 10.2 state: “The same two staff members that are responsible for apparatus and equipment maintenance largely handle facility maintenance. These two staff members are major contributors to the overall success of CRFPD….Like many areas with CRFPD, a lot is done with very little. Maintenance staff handles everything from small equipment repair, SCBA fit testing, to pump rebuilds. It is obvious that financial challenges have stressed the ability to maintain and keep up with the volume and scope of work in this area”.
CRFPD has long identified the need for a maintenance facility to enable the maintenance staff to safely and adequately address maintenance and testing needs. The current maintenance and repair is conducted in one of the fire engine bays at the Carbondale Station. Constructing a maintenance building will allow not only for better maintenance and repair facilities but also for keeping two fire apparatus in the current bay rather than outside in the parking lot where they are currently located. It will also reduce repair expenses, as more types of repairs will be done in-house.
If you have additional questions, please call Chief Rob Goodwin at 970-963-2491.
Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District Ballot Question 7C (Bond Issue)
SHALL THE CARBONDALE AND RURAL FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT DEBT BE INCREASED UP TO $7.5 MILLION, WITH A MAXIMUM REPAYMENT COST OF UP TO $15.1 MILLION, AND SHALL DISTRICT TAXES BE INCREASED UP TO $720,000 ANNUALLY FOR THE PURPOSE OF FINANCING THE COSTS OF,
– PURCHASING AND UPGRADING TEN FIREFIGHTING APPARATUS AND THREE AMBULANCES TO REPLACE AN AGING FLEET,
– CONSTRUCTING A MULTIFUNCTION TRAINING FACILITY TO IMPROVE RESPONSE CAPABILITY AND ENHANCE RESPONDER SAFETY,
– EXPANDING TWO FIRE STATIONS BY THE ADDITION OF APPARATUS BAYS TO PROPERLY HOUSE AND POSITION APPARATUS, AND
– CONSTRUCTING A MAINTENANCE FACILITY TO ENABLE THE DISTRICT TO PERFORM COMPREHENSIVE MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR OF APPARATUS AND EQUIPMENT,
AND TO THE EXTENT FUNDS ARE AVAILABLE, EQUIPPING, IMPROVING AND ACQUIRING FIRE PROTECTION APPARATUS AND FACILITIES, SUCH DEBT TO CONSIST OF THE ISSUANCE AND PAYMENT OF GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS, WHICH BONDS SHALL BEAR INTEREST AT A MAXIMUM NET EFFECTIVE INTEREST RATE NOT TO EXCEED 5.5% PER ANNUM AND BE ISSUED AT SUCH TIMES AND PRICES (AT, ABOVE OR BELOW PAR) AND IN SUCH MANNER AND CONTAINING SUCH TERMS, NOT INCONSISTENT HEREWITH, AS THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS MAY DETERMINE; SHALL AD VALOREM PROPERTY TAXES BE LEVIED WITHOUT LIMIT AS TO THE MILL RATE TO GENERATE AN AMOUNT SUFFICIENT IN EACH YEAR TO PAY THE PRINCIPAL OF, PREMIUM IF ANY, AND INTEREST ON SUCH DEBT AND TO FUND ANY RESERVES FOR THE PAYMENT THEREOF; AND SHALL ANY EARNINGS FROM THE INVESTMENT OF THE PROCEEDS OF SUCH TAXES AND BONDS CONSTITUTE A VOTER-APPROVED REVENUE CHANGE?