The Falcon Fire Protection District held its regular monthly board meeting July 12. All board members were present except Joan Hathcock, who had an excused absence. Attorney Richard Shearer, legal counsel for the district, was also present.
New fire engine
Board members and guests were given a brief tour of the district’s newest fire engine, a 2017 Rosenbauer General, delivered July 11.
Fire Chief Trent Harwig reported that the fiscal year was 50 percent complete as of June 30. The district has received 67 percent of its anticipated revenue. General fund expenditures are at 41 percent, which is 9 percent under budget.
Harwig said the 2016 financial audit is complete, and the auditor is “really satisfied” with measures the district has enacted to minimize risk.
FFPD responded to 208 calls for service in June. The year-to-date total of 1,148 incidents represents a 9.5 percent increase over the same time period in 2016.
Richard Shearer said the El Paso-Teller County 911 Authority has issued an “amended and restated” intergovernmental agreement. He said the changes are intended to improve emergency telephone service with no additional financial commitment for the district. The board authorized the fire chief to sign the agreement on behalf of the district.
Shiloh Mesa exclusion
Shearer said the district manager for Shiloh Mesa wants to exclude from FFPD any portion of its properties that have been annexed by the city. Originally, he was trying to get all of the subdivision property owners to exclude at once, but now he wants to move forward on excluding only Shiloh Mesa’s own properties.
Dan Kupferer, board president, said the board needs clarification about which properties will be excluded. He also asked about the district manager’s authorization to act on behalf of the other property owners since the metro district owns little to no property there.
Shearer said he will obtain more information and request a drawing or map that specifies the properties for exclusion.
Harwig said that the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners “chose not to vote” on the IGA (intergovernmental agreement) for impact fees instead of continuing or tabling the item. (State statute now allows fire districts to collect impact fees to offset the additional cost burden associated with new development, but those agencies cannot collect impact fees unless they have an IGA with the ruling local government.)
Claims that El Paso County’s proposed countywide IGA is the first of its kind in the state and thus sets precedence are inaccurate. As an example, Shearer cited Adams County, which has IGAs with 10 fire districts. He said, “This (El Paso County) is the only county I know that is stalled on this issue ... . It’s very sad because it’s an important thing.”
Harwig said the biggest issue appeared to revolve around the impact fee studies that were already conducted by three county fire districts, particularly how the studies were calculated. “It just kept getting more complex as it went along,” he said.
Director Mike Collins asked whether the fire district has any other options for collecting impact fees if the county were to decide not to establish an IGA. Shearer replied, “No. Not the way the statute is written.”
The board directed legal counsel to cancel the impact fee study contract with BBC Research & Consulting “in light of the uncertainties with the county.” Directors had previously authorized the contract with the stipulation that it be implemented only when the county IGA was approved.
Shearer said the last time the board reviewed and adopted bylaws was in 2006. “A lot has changed with the laws since then,” he said, so an update was necessary. He explained that board bylaws are not required as long as the board follows the laws. He reminded directors that “the interests of the district are above your own.”
The revised board bylaws are designed to be user friendly so directors can easily find information. They also take into account the Firefighter Safety Act and Pregnancy Act.
The board voted to adopt the bylaws as reviewed with a minor amendment regarding how board members are notified in the event of a special board meeting.
The FFPD welcomed a brand new fire engine, a Rosenbauer General, in July. Photo by Robin Widma