Such a nice surprise, waking up on Wednesday to learn that Ballot Question 2A/4A – a mill levy increase to support the Durango Fire Protection District – was handily passed by both city and county voters. A win in both contests was necessary for the property tax effort to succeed.
Just a year after tax proposals to fund a new airport terminal and much-needed county road repairs were defeated, we wondered if DFPD’s efforts would share a similar fate.
But this year, local voters seemed pleased to step up and help the fire district prepare for the future, both immediate and long-term.
Turns out, we were not an outlier in Southwest Colorado. As The Denver Post noted, “Voters across Colorado – from Longmont to Idaho Springs and Denver to Hayden – approved … taxation for public projects in this week’s election, (giving) a green light to tens of millions of dollars in tax hikes ... to pay for everything from schools and street repairs to water system improvements to downtown development projects.”
Perhaps we should stow our surprise, because in presenting their case, Chief Hal Doughty and the DFPD board were tireless, completely above board and ready with the facts and figures they needed to back up their request.
They answered a barrage of questions, and demonstrated that the money is needed to keep providing, and increase, the level of fire and medical emergency response city and county residents clearly want and expect. We look forward to seeing the same level of accountability as the district prepares to apply the new funding to its personnel, equipment, training and capital project needs.
It should be noted that while Doughty led off countless presentations by announcing that, “I’m no politician,” and apologizing for his lack of people skills, we beg to differ. He is a natural communicator as adept at gauging the pulse of the public as he is at judging the readiness of his crews. As a community, we are lucky to have him.
Sunny skies, fire engines and small-town parades fit together naturally, and all will be seen together today on Main Ave.
The Veterans Day parade is in honor of those who have served, and are serving, in our nation’s armed forces. Remember to share the salute with the local men and women who serve to protect us here at home.