City seeks applicants for committee to explore Steamboat Fire Rescue funding options | SteamboatToday.com

City seeks applicants for committee to explore Steamboat Fire Rescue funding options

A Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue engine returns to the Mountain Fire Station.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The city of Steamboat Springs is seeking residents interested in finding solutions to fund the city's fire and emergency services for the long term.

While Steamboat's population and the number of calls to which Steamboat Fire Rescue responds have increased during the past decade, the agency's staff level has remained the same. Officials also have expressed concern about the rising number of concurrent calls, situations in which first responders are called to more than one emergency at the same time.

In the fall, an election was called off on a proposed measure that would've consolidated the city department with the Steamboat Springs Area Fire Protection District, a move that would levy a property tax within city limits to generate revenue for the district.

How to apply

To apply, visit the city clerk’s office in City Hall, 137 10th St., or go to SteamboatSprings.net/apply. Applications for committee membership are due by 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14.

Applications will be reviewed prior to City Council’s work session Tuesday, Jan. 15. Council is expected to hear a recommendation on the committee that evening, according to a news release from the city.

For more information, call City Clerk Julie Franklin at 970-879-2060.

The Steamboat Springs City Council decided instead to form a citizen's committee to explore options to increase funding for fire and emergency services.

"I think we needed to have more citizen involvement," City Manager Gary Suiter said.

Suiter said City Council members, consultants and people involved in providing fire and emergency services had discussed funding for more than a year before the fire district election was halted. He said council made the right move in "hitting the breaks" and deciding to explore more options.

"There isn't a better way to do that than form a citizens committee," he said.

The group will be tasked with developing options that would gain community support for long-term funding while considering structural, organizational and financial details, along with an implementation schedule.

Though the proposed consolidation plan is still an option, the committee will be directed to offer other alternatives to be brought forward to the City Council, according to a news release from the city.

The committee will be made up of seven community members. A fire district board member, a City Council member and city employees — including those from Steamboat Fire Rescue, finance and facilities staff — will provide information and support to the committee, Suiter said.

He hopes to see "a good cross section of at-large citizens" on the ad-hoc committee.

He also said the committee should be balanced — not tilting in favor of fire and emergency services districts, commercial property owners or city staff.

Suiter said it would be helpful if applicants had some knowledge of municipal government and finances, such as an understanding of the Gallagher Amendment's impacts on city government.

Applications must be received by the city clerk’s office by 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 14. The committee will be asked to report to City Council in writing April 15.

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email ehasenbeck@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @elHasenbeck.

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