The Falcon Fire Protection District held its regular monthly board meeting Jan. 16. All directors were present except for Cory Galicia, who was granted an excused absence. Richard Shearer and Joan Fritsche, legal counsel for the district, were also present.
Director Mike Collins thanked FFPD Lt. Joseph Cosgrove, firefighter Daniel Miller and firefighter/paramedic Kelli Ehardt for their assistance with a family member’s recent medical emergency.
FFPD Fire Chief Trent Harwig presented the final treasurer’s report for 2018. With 100 percent of the fiscal year complete as of Dec. 31, the district had received 101 percent of its anticipated revenue in the general fund. He said the additional revenue primarily came from deposit interest, but also from fees for access and water plan reviews for new development. Expenditures were at 91 percent across all general fund categories.
Harwig said the capital projects fund had received 105 percent of its anticipated revenue and noted that the district transferred an additional $50,000 from the general fund to the capital projects fund in 2018. Expenditures were at 71 percent; in part, because the Station 3 parking lot project was not completed in 2018, pending reconstruction of the Meridian Road/U.S. Highway 24 intersection.
Harwig reported that reservists logged 603 hours of standby time in December, bringing the year-end total to 7,594 reserve standby hours. There were no station brownouts in December.
Harwig said that Deputy Chief Jeff Petersma went to Iowa to complete specifications for the new ambulances. He said the cabs and chassis will arrive at the manufacturer in April with delivery of completed apparatus expected in August.
The district received 213 calls for service in December, bringing the year-end total to 2,665 calls, which represents a 6.5 percent increase from the 2017 total of 2,502.
Meridian Road/U.S. Highway 24 intersection
Director Tom Kerby said the county is now hoping to start their portion of the project this summer.
Update on quiet title action
Attorney Richard Shearer reported that the quiet title action is complete and the fire district now owns the alley adjacent to Station 3.
Harwig said Mountain View Electric Association will provide a bid and schedule to set the new electrical pedestal in the alleyway and connect power.
Shiloh Mesa exclusion
Shearer said the board of directors should receive the exclusion petition next month and will then need to schedule a hearing.
Sands exclusion hearing
The board held a hearing regarding the exclusion of the Sands subdivision from the Falcon Fire Protection District. The subdivision, which has been annexed into the city, includes lots between Marksheffel Road and Capital Drive, adjacent to FFPD’s newest fire station in the District 4 response zone. The fire district received the petition to exclude the Sands in August 2018.
Jeff Mark, who represents the petitioner, said it was not the property owner’s intent to request exclusion from the fire district, and noted they have had a good working relationship with FFPD. However, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners did not approve rezoning the property to residential because of its proximity to industrial properties. Mark noted that commissioners Daryl Glenn and Amy Lathen were not present at that vote. The BOCC also would not grant the requested right-in/right-out access off of Marksheffel Road, and Mark said that decision deterred commercial property investors. As a result, the property owner approached the city for annexation and subsequent approval of the project. Mark said he is following the city’s mandate to request exclusion but noted that there is no requirement to exclude.
Harwig researched the exclusion’s potential impact on the fire district and presented his findings to the board for consideration. He said the call volume in the District 4 response zone increased 46 percent from the time the land purchase contract for Station 4 was finalized and the day the fire station was opened. Since Station 4 opened, the average response time to District 4 dropped from about 10 minutes and 31 seconds to six minutes. In December 2018, the average response time was five minutes and 18 seconds. “That’s why the station is there and why it was built,” Harwig said.
The district must consider the financial impact of the exclusion, Harwig said. The cost to build Fire Station 4 and put it into service; including land, buildings and grounds, fire engine, equipment, and furnishings, was $2,755,289. Annual operating expenses for Station 4, to include the future ambulance crew, are $1,646,419. At the current mill levy and residential assessment rate, even when undeveloped lots are built out, Harwig said, “District 4 still doesn’t bring in enough to operate that station.”
Director Dan Kupferer asked who would be responsible for emergency response to the Sands subdivision if the exclusion were to be approved. Harwig said that statutorily that area would be the responsibility of the Colorado Springs Fire Department. CSFD Station 17 is about 3.5 miles away while FFPD Station 4 is anywhere between 100 feet and 1.2 miles away. “We’ll always be the closest station to it (the Sands),” Harwig said. He added that the expectation of future Sands residents would be a response from “the station that you see.”
Mark said that approval or disapproval of the exclusion makes little impact to the landowner since future residents will pay the property taxes once those lots are fully developed. Mark said, “I’m not here to take away your tax base. I’m just doing what I was told to do.”
The board opted to take the information presented under advisement and recessed the hearing until the February board meeting.