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As a result of a series of meetings, the Fire/EMS Citizens Committee presented two scenarios for funding Fire/EMS services to City Council during the April 9 work session.
“After a number of variations, the committee settled on two funding possibilities that it believed would appeal to the overall community,” said City Manager Gary Suiter. “We’re looking to hear from citizens on the scenarios and if they have a preference before or at the May 7 meeting.”
After lengthy dialogue among the group, the committee identified two preferred funding scenarios to present as possible ways to address funding Fire/EMS services for the community. Currently, both scenarios look to maintain the existing relationship between the city and district instead of merging into one entity.
Funding Scenario 1 provides alignment with some EMS call types by implementing a 2% tax on retail marijuana and alcohol sales as part of the mix without adding more general sales taxes. In addition to the suggested new sales taxes, a 2 mill property tax, much lower than the originally proposed 9 mills, was recommend as part of this proposal. The property tax was envisioned as a way for second homeowners to support services and was supported by commercial representatives.
Funding Scenario 2 relies on a 4 mill property tax to round out the three-way contribution split from city sales tax, the fire protection district property tax and charges for services without adding more sales tax. This scenario also provides for incorporating second homeowners in paying for services though property tax; however, the 4 mills was not generally supported by the commercial representatives.
The Citizens Committee met seven times beginning in early February and included Kathy Connell (chair), Gary Cogswell (vice chair), Steve Sehnert, Ed MacArthur, Dan Pirallo, Joella West and Bud Romberg. Council was represented by Councilor Robin Crossan, and city staff resources were provided throughout the process.
The complete committee presentation and accompanying materials from the April 9 meeting may be found at HERE. This topic comes before City Council again during the upcoming Tuesday, May 7 regular meeting. Any time prior to the meeting, citizens may share comments with council either by email or via the comment form on the city’s website as well as with the City Manager, Fire Chief or Deputy Chief. In addition, public comment will be offered as an additional opportunity to share input on the proposal after the presentation on May 7, 2019.
ContactGary Suiter, City Manager, 970.871.8240 or emailMel Stewart, Fire Chief, 970.879.7170 or emailChuck Cerasoli, Deputy Fire Chief, 970.879.7170 or email