Last week, we received ballots for the La Plata County coordinated election. This is an unusually critical ballot with elections for our local school boards and for vital improvements to our fire protection districts. Unfortunately, these issues have been linked on our ballots with a proposal for a $1 billion tax increase for schools. The problem with the massive school tax proposal is that it is statewide. This means that a Denver board will reallocate our local tax dollars and send them to the I-25 corridor for more teachers and administrators with higher salaries and bigger pensions.
Our fire district taxes will stay here to protect us. Our fire districts provide not only fire protection, but are responsible for emergency services throughout our county.
Our mountains and valleys are unmatched in their beauty, but also unmatched in the challenges that they present to the provision of closely coordinated emergency services. Vital communication between base stations and emergency personnel in the field is too often compromised by the lack of modern infrastructure and technology. This is especially true in mountainous terrain. This must be corrected.
We are all more likely to utilizes emergency services than fire protection, and we must assure that these services are state-of-the-art in equipment and personnel. The problems our fire districts are now facing are not the result of extravagance nor of mismanagement, but are the result of the loss of tax revenue from the gas and oil industry. In fact, our fire chiefs and their personnel continually provide outstanding service, but these services are at risk. The chiefs and others have presented carefully crafted, reasonable plans to coordinate, fund and ensure the continued services that are vital to our safety and well-being. The next step is up to us. Today, there is a reverse 911 call in our county. Our fire districts are facing an emergency and they need our help. Please answer their call as they answer ours, day in and day out. Vote “yes” on measures 2A, 4A, and 4B.
William G. Plested