Audrey Enever: 9 mills seems like large assessment for fire district | SteamboatToday.com

Audrey Enever: 9 mills seems like large assessment for fire district

Several weeks ago we received a piece of mail concerning a hearing by the board of directors of the Steamboat Springs Area Fire Protection District.  

It informed us, as owners of property within the city of Steamboat Springs, that they, together with the city, have determined we should become part of their district. To this end they will hold a public hearing on Monday, Oct. 15 and later a special election in May of 2019.

The letter indicated that they would be assessing our property for a property tax of 9 mills. Since this is a rather large assessment – about half we are currently assessed by the school district — it appeared some analysis and explanation might be appropriate.

Using the most recent values available from the Abstract of Assessments 2017, it appears that the 9 mills assessed against the city valuation of $694,561,590 would yield $6.25 million. Add to this the associated assessment against the area currently served by the area fire district, with a valuation of $193,646,460 at 9 mills yielding $ 1.74 million, and this newly created district would have revenue of almost $8 million. 

It was my understanding that the city currently spends $1.8 million from sales tax revenues and the area fire district assesses approximately $1.3 million to provide a budget of about $3.1 million to finance the services currently provided to the combined area.  

Understanding that there may well be good reasons for needing more money to be spent on the fire and the associated services provided, can we really justify a sudden more than doubling in costs? Can we expect an organization that has previously only collected money and handed it over to the city, to suddenly be competent to administer that much money? 

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Why would we create a new bureaucracy to duplicate the competent one we already have? If we need a new fire station, why wouldn't we bond for it as we normally do with major facilities? And, wouldn't it be in the city?

Someone needs to be a lot more forthcoming with information to justify this program. The only discussion heard so far, is what should the city do with the $1.8 million it will have available in its budget if this all happens.

The public hearing will be held at 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15 in Centennial Hall.

If the 9 mills concerns you, come to the public hearing and be heard. 

Audrey Enever

Steamboat Springs

 

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