Regarding the recent ballot issue for the Mill Levy 6A that the Huerfano County Fire Protection District is seeking, I feel that after having spent nearly a decade calling Huerfano County my home, I would like to give some first person insight for those that will be considering the issue.
This Mill Levy increase is NOT the agency requesting additional funds for salaries, perks or similar. It is simply to operate the agency in the year 2020 with what has been funded with the equivalent of dollar value from the 1970’s. The equipment that is necessary to provide even the most basic of services for fire protection is extremely costly and MUST be maintained and as time progresses, and eventually replaced. The cost is actually estimated to be $35/YEAR per $100,000 value.
These volunteers respond 24 hours a day and EVERY day of the year, no matter what, because they are committed, dedicated and hardworking people. The salary for a firefighter in Pueblo is $4,324-$5,706 (freedom of information public data) for WORKING A MERE 10 days a month (Captains and higher ranks even MORE)…. these volunteer responders do not receive a salary. They do it to contribute to the community from the goodness that is within EACH and EVERY one of them. They personally sacrifice on a daily basis to provide the community with emergency services for a FRACTION of an operating budget that other similar agencies have to work with. I would sincerely hope that the voters of Huerfano County realize just how good they have it with the Huerfano County Fire Protection District providing their protection and pass this Mill Levy to keep the agency funded and operating as well as possible… It is not a matter of whether or not each resident will need assistance, but WHEN they will need it.
Voters must face the facts, while the labor and the personal risk of injury and extremely high risk of associated cancers and other diseases that is taken by each of these responders is “free,” the overhead costs of running the agency are not. Are you REALLY willing to jeopardize your fire protection when it literally costs just cents per day more under the proposed mill levy increase ? Please, I implore you, provide these people with equipment that functions when it is needed most. THEY are the ones putting their lives on the line for yours and ask nothing more than the tools and resources to perform these functions.
~Fred Partee Pueblo, CO