It’s not often that the members of four elected boards and one council all agree to reduce government. But that is precisely what has happened in the case of issues 2A and 4B. The elected boards and council of the Durango Fire Protection District, Durango Fire Rescue Authority, Animas Fire Protection District, Hermosa Cliff Fire Protection District and city of Durango all agreed that it makes economic sense to have one governing body – not five – overseeing emergency services in our area. And this can be done without increasing the current tax rate.
As you go to vote, I urge you to get the facts: Property owners in Animas and Hermosa Cliff will pay 5.7 mills. This figure is based on the 10-year average paid by property owners in Animas. It’s a fair and reasonable mill levy amount. This is not a tax-rate increase. Property owners in the city of Durango will continue to pay their fair share. The DFPD and city have developed a 15-year contract for services to be paid by the city from its general fund on the same equal basis of 5.7 mills. That’s fair and reasonable.
Animas FPD’s equipment, fire stations, pension funds, cash and assets will remain intact. They are currently managed by the DFRA – they have been for the last 12 years. When DFPD takes over as the sole governing body, it will continue to properly maintain and manage these assets. TABOR requires that any future tax rate increase obtain voter approval. The DFPD cannot simply raise taxes in the future.
Durango Fire Rescue’s 186 members, including our firefighters, medics and volunteers, remain focused on providing the highest level of service to more than 30,000 residents and visitors in the city and county. They will continue to respond to medical emergencies, wildland fires, structure fires, hazardous-material spills/releases as well as swift water, ice, technical rope and confined space rescues. Issue 2A and 4B protect emergency services, reduce government, reduce costs and improve long-term planning. They deserve our support.
Kathleen Morris, Animas Fire Protection District, board chairwoman