Steamboat to form citizens committee to address fire funding options
December 5, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Steamboat Springs City Council elected to form a citizens committee to find solutions to increase funding for Steamboat Fire Rescue.
The city and the Steamboat Springs Area Fire Protection District Board planned to offer voters the choice to include the city in the district. The measure would have levied the same, up to 9-mill, property tax on city residents to generate funding for Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue. The election was called off after the council was brought to a standstill after two tied votes at a November city council meeting.
At its current staffing level, Steamboat Fire Rescue frequently cannot respond with a full crew of first responders when it receives concurrent calls for service.
This means that if first responders are called to one emergency, they often don't respond with a fully staffed ambulance or fire engine if they're called to a second, third or fourth emergency while still attending to the first call.
The committee will be tasked with determining what facilities are needed to support fire and emergency services in the long term and to determine funding options to hire additional staff and build a new fire station.
"I think we need to generate broad community support as goal number one," City Manager Gary Suiter told council in the meeting Tuesday night.
The group's second goal will be to improve the chance of a funding measure passing should it go to an election.
Some council members, city staff and fire district board members will provide resources for the committee but will not hold positions on the committee.
Seven people will serve on the committee. The council will discuss how committee members will be appointed at a work session Friday.
Those interested in applying to serve on the committee should contact the city clerk's office. Suiter said council might seek to fill committee seats with applicants who have specific experience in finance, emergency services or other skill sets.
Those who are interested in serving on the committee should contact the clerk's office at 970-871-8248 or online at steamboatsprings.net/98/City-Clerk.