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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 7 July 2019  

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  FFPD April board meeting
  By Robin Widmar

   The Falcon Fire Protection District held its regular monthly board meeting April 17. All members were present except for Director Mike Collins, who participated via teleconference. Rick Shearer and Joan Fritsche, legal counsel for the district, were also present.
   
   Director Mike Collins publicly thanked FFPD Lt. Nick Koory for building wheelchair ramps for the Collins’ home to improve access.
   
   Fire Chief Trent Harwig administered oaths of office to the following personnel, who have completed their requirements and certifications for the positions listed:
  • Driver/operators: Joseph Callahan, Brian Deckard, Benjamin Rackl
  • Firefighter/paramedic: Kelli Ehardt
  • Firefighters: Yusef Ghodgeri, Noah McKelvin

   
   Treasurer’s report
   With the fiscal year 25 percent complete as of March 31, Harwig reported that the general fund had received 39 percent of its anticipated revenue while expenses were at 35 percent across all general fund categories. Harwig noted that some significant recent expenses, including a new engine for a brush truck, will appear on next month’s budget report.
   
   Harwig said that funds had been transferred from the general fund to the Ambulance Transport Fund; there was no other activity. Capital Improvement Fund expenditures were at 30 percent.
   
   Chief’s report
   Harwig said that reservists logged 281.3 standby hours in March, and there were no station brownouts. Because of increased staffing, Harwig said he does not anticipate future “brownout” situations.
   
   Deputy Chief Jeff Petersma reported that March incident statistics were affected by a high number of calls for service received during the March 13-14 blizzard. Specific statistics for the storm are still being vetted. The district recorded 429 calls for service in March, with 200 of those occurring during the blizzard. Of those 200, 148 were for stranded motorists and 52 were for other calls such as emergency medical situations.
   
   Petersma said that some district apparatus incurred minor damages during blizzard operations.
   
   Harwig reported that the Colorado Department of Public Affairs has completed its determination of the Residential Assessment Rate for the 2020 tax year. The original estimate was 6.11 percent, but public affairs is now estimating 7.15 percent. “We’re going to be in better shape next year than we thought,” Harwig said. However, the recent passage of Colorado Senate Bill 19-181, which affects oil and natural gas operations, could cause companies in those industries to pull back; which, in turn, would decrease revenue to special districts. Even districts that do not rely heavily on revenue from oil and gas production could be negatively affected if residential assessment rates decrease again to maintain the balance between residential and non-residential property taxes.
   
   Harwig briefly discussed legislative items affecting the fire service. One is a bill that would require a four-year degree for paramedic licensing. Another bill would allow ambulance transport companies to bill insurance companies only at their in-network billing rates, but fire department-based ambulance transports are exempted from these requirements.
   
   Harwig said the district has purchased a power lift cot and will be applying for a worker’s compensation grant to offset up to half the cost, since the power lift feature helps to prevent back injuries.
   
   Attorney’s report
   Attorney Joan Fritsche has spoken with legal counsel for the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District regarding the proposed special needs playground project on a section of land at FFPD Station 1. Once a legal drawing of the parcel is provided, Fritsche said FFPD and Woodmen Hills will enter into a ground lease with specific provisions stating that Woodmen Hills will be responsible for all aspects of the playground and the fire district will be indemnified.
   
   Meridian Road/U.S. Highway 24 intersection
   Harwig said the fire district was notified by the managing firm for the Falcon Highlands Metropolitan District that an agreement has been signed regarding the sale of the land west of Station 3 to the county. The fire district previously sold this parcel to Falcon Highlands, but the transaction was not recorded in county records, so the fire district is still shown as the legal owner of record. Falcon Highlands still intends to transfer the strip of land between Station 3 and U.S. Highway 24 to FFPD as previously agreed.
   
   Shiloh Mesa exclusion
   The legal description provided by the county was based on parcel numbers, which have changed because of ongoing development, Fritsche said. She said the city’s GIS department will develop a proper legal description for the properties being excluded.
   
   Fritsche said a city statute requires FFPD and the city to enter into an intergovernmental agreement to ensure that FFPD will continue to provide services to the properties not excluded from the fire district. Once the IGA is approved by the FFPD board and the Colorado Springs City Council, the exclusion process will move forward.
   
   Inclusion into WHMD
   The board discussed the ongoing process of the FFPD Station 3 property’s inclusion into the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District for water and sewer services. Attorney Richard Shearer noted that the fire district does not have to exclude from Falcon Highlands Metropolitan District before inclusion into the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District.
  
Fire Chief Trent Harwig administers the oath of office to (left to right) Yusuf Ghodgeri and Noah McKelvin, who were sworn in as firefighters.
 
Fire Chief Trent Harwig administers the oath of office to (left to right) Benjamin Rackl, Brian Deckard and Joseph Callahan, who were all promoted to driver/operator.
 
Fire Chief Trent Harwig administers the oath of office to Kelli Ehardt, who was promoted to firefighter/paramedic.
 
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