The Fire District seeks to protect emergency services and improve 911 response times by ensuring the District can retain seasoned firefighters, filling high-priority staffing needs and implementing a district-operated ambulance service.
It has been 20 years since district voters approved additional funding for the Fire District. Since that time, call volume has increased five-fold. The percentage of calls that are medical emergencies have also increased, in part due to our growing, aging population. The complexity of our calls has also increased.
Many large metro fire districts continue to aggressively recruit experienced firefighters from fire districts in more rural areas (like our own). Some rural fire districts have recently seen 25% or more of their firefighters leave for better pay and benefits. PGFPD does not want to be put in this situation. Having competitive pay and benefits is essential to fending off big-city fire districts trying to cherry pick your most experienced first responders.
PGFPD’s firefighters possess a range of important, difficult to acquire certifications and training. This makes them very attractive recruits. And it makes them difficult to replace when they leave our district.
The District seeks to add first responders to address a continued increase in call volume.
The Fire District is confident that if it implements an in-house ambulance service—rather than relying on a private ambulance service—it can dramatically improve response times. And when it comes to medical emergencies, every second counts.
The average “district-wide” response time for PGFPD is about 5 minutes, which is impressive given that the Fire District is responsible for serving a 144-square-mile service area. And when it comes to in-town calls, the average response time is about 3 minutes. However, the District’s first responders are often waiting an additional 10 to 15 minutes or longer for the private ambulance service to arrive at a medical emergency.
While the District’s firefighters can perform basic life support (BLS), they are not permitted to administer drugs and other advanced life support (ALS) procedures. PGFPD’s firefighters must wait for the paramedics from the private ambulance service to arrive to provide ALS services.
The Fire District’s plan is to have one ambulance, one paramedic and one firefighter/EMT stationed at each of its two fire stations, 24-7, 365 days a year. The Fire District is confident this strategy would result in dramatically improved response times relative to what the private ambulance service can currently provide. Even though the private ambulance is housed in the District’s Gilcrest fire station, 60% of the time the private provider is responding to calls in Greeley.
Yes, many fire districts in Colorado and throughout the nation effectively and efficiently operate their own ambulance service.
The Fire District is considering placing a 3.5 mill proposal on the May 8, 2018 ballot. The estimated tax impact is $2.25 per month per $100,000 of a home’s actual value as determined by the County Assessor.
The oil and gas industry would pay about 67% of the tax.
The residential assessment rate recently dropped from 7.96% to 7.2%. This percentage is projected by the legislature to go even lower in the next two years. This new rate, and our lowered ISO rating, would help offset the tax impact.
The District currently funds the operations and maintenance of two fire stations, one in Platteville and one in Gilcrest, with a mill levy of 3.803 mills. This is by far one of the lowest mill levies in our area. In fact, most of the District’s peer districts have a tax rate that is three to four times greater that amount.
An Insurance Service Office (ISO) rating is a measure of risk. The lower the ISO rating, the better. PGFPD was notified last year that its ISO rating for all properties within five-road miles of its stations will drop from 5 to 3 (effective December 1, 2017). This is good news for many property owners within the district, given that property insurance rates are often reduced with a reduction in the ISO rating.
All eligible voters within the Fire District, as well as Colorado registered voters who own property within the District, would get to vote on the proposed mill levy.
Yes, all eligible voters would receive a mail ballot?
Election Day is Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Mail ballots will be mailed approximately 20 days before Election Day.