Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is Platteville-Gilcrest Fire Protection District (PGFPD) placing a mill levy measure on the May 8, 2018 ballot?

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.

When was the last time the Fire District asked for additional funding?

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.

Are other fire districts trying to recruit PGFPD’s firefighters?

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.

Why do big-city fire districts continue to look to our district for potential recruits?

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.

Would any of the mill levy funds go toward hiring additional staff?

The District seeks to add first responders to address a continued increase in call volume.

Why does the Fire District seek to operate its own ambulance service?

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.

How quickly does the Fire District get to medical emergencies versus the private ambulance service?

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.

What emergency medical services can the ambulance service’s paramedics provide that the Fire District’s firefighters cannot provide?

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.

Why would the Fire District’s proposed ambulance service be able to respond faster than the current private ambulance provider?

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.

Do other fire districts operate their own ambulance service?

Yes, many fire districts in Colorado and throughout the nation effectively and efficiently operate their own ambulance service.

What is the estimated tax impact?

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.

What percentage of the proposed tax would be paid by the oil and gas industry?

The oil and gas industry would pay about 67% of the tax.

Is our residential assessment rate expected to “again” go down?

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.

How does PGFPD’s current tax rate compare to other districts?

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.

What is an ISO rating, and to what extent has the Fire District been able to lower this rating?

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.

Who would get to vote on the mill levy proposal?

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.

Would eligible voters receive a mail ballot?

Yes, all eligible voters would receive a mail ballot?

When is Election Day?

Election Day is Tuesday, May 8, 2018. Mail ballots will be mailed approximately 20 days before Election Day.

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