The Falcon Fire Protection District held its regular monthly board meeting Aug.16. All directors were present, as well as Richard Shearer, legal counsel for the district.
Fire Chief Trent Harwig reported that the fiscal year was 58 percent complete as of July 31. The district had received 94 percent of its anticipated revenue in the general fund, which is normal for this time of year because of the scheduled receipt of property tax revenues. General fund expenditures were at 48 percent.
Harwig said that El Paso County Commissioner Mark Waller and Colorado State Representative Paul Lundeen held a lightly attended town hall meeting at Station 3 on Aug. 12, which provided “ample opportunities” to discuss impact fees.
“There’s still a disconnect on what the IGA (intergovernmental agreement for impact fees) should be,” Harwig said. He added that Waller invited him to meet and further discuss the issue.
Harwig said the IGA process was complicated by the fact that three fire districts completing impact fee studies before the IGA was finalized. “That’s where all the focus went and all the concern went,” he said. He noted that 23 fire districts in El Paso County have not done impact fee studies and will not do so until an IGA with the county is finalized.
He said Waller did not realize other counties have IGAs in place for fire department impact fees, and thought El Paso County was the first; but Harwig informed him that multiple counties across the state have already implemented impact fee IGAs.
Harwig reported that he met with the county engineer and Jim Reid, executive director of the El Paso County Department of Public Works, to discuss potential annexation by the city and the denial of commercial access by the county for undeveloped property, owned by the Landis Co., that surrounds FFPD’s new Station 4. According to the county, Landis is moving forward on the annexation process. Landis had requested a particular access configuration from Marksheffel Road to its properties. The county wanted a left-turn lane moved north 200 feet because it lands in a current left-turn deceleration lane, but the city said it would approve the configuration requested by Landis.
Harwig said FFPD hasn’t seen anything yet on annexation or exclusion from the fire district. Board President Dan Kupferer noted that it would take six months to a year for annexation to be finalized. The board discussed the potential loss of revenue to the fire district, as well as the fact that annexation or exclusion plans were not known by the district at the time the Station 4 lot was purchased from Landis. Kupferer said it was anticipated that tax revenue from the development of the Landis property would help pay for the new station.
Kupferer said Landis had already submitted to the county plans for commercial, single-and-multi-family occupancies at the time FFPD purchased its lot. Harwig said it would be important to know when the developer knew they were going to request an exclusion.
Harwig said he and the county also discussed narrow roads in the Mule Deer Crossing subdivision, including Reindeer Circle. Currently, the county-owned roads are not wide enough to allow parking on both sides of the road. When residents and visitors park on both sides, fire apparatus cannot get through. The homeowners association has also complained that snow plows and trash trucks also have difficulty accessing the area. Harwig said the county will work with the HoA to address the situation. Harwig said no one seems to know how the road width was initially approved.
Harwig spoke with the water provider for 5,300 homes in Sterling Ranch. The company wanted fire department input for placement of eight to 10 hydrants along a proposed 24-inch water line that would run across Hodgen Road and down the power line easement. The timeline is unknown. Harwig said the water will come from dozens of well sites throughout Black Forest under water rights agreements dating back to the 1970s.
The district responded to 231 incidents during the month of July, which was the second busiest month for FFPD since June 2013.
Attorney Richard Shearer reported there has been no movement on the Shiloh Mesa exclusion request.
Falcon volunteer fire pension board meeting
All members were present except for Curtis Kauffman.
The actuarial study revealed that the district will need to increase its annual contribution to maintain the retirement fund’s actuarial soundness at current benefit levels. The pension board will make a decision at its next meeting in November so that the district’s budget can be finalized.
Harwig said the Staffing for Adequate Fire & Emergency Response (SAFER) grants are being awarded, but FFPD has not yet been notified whether its grant application has been approved or denied. “The plan was to hire staff next year, but it’s going to be tight if we don’t get the SAFER grant,” he said.
Meridian Road/Highway 24 intersection
Director Tom Kerby reported that the county’s plans still show a right-in/right-out configuration that is not good for fire apparatus access. He added that the county’s new design engineer may not know the district’s concerns about the plan. He said he would ask the county to meet with FFPD to discuss the issue.