At the Dec. 15 meeting, the Falcon Fire Protection District board discussed the distribution of additional revenue expected from the mill levy increase. The board also held a separate budget meeting. Budget meetingFire Chief Trent Harwig presented budget information for the new year, listing items that need immediate attention: updated security on the fire stations; snow stops on the roofs; new garage doors and openers to help with the insulation of Fire Station 3; new counter tops to replace the worn-out volunteer-built ones.ìThese items need to be addressed now,î Harwig said. ìWe’re only replacing, fixing or repairing the stuff we’ve needed to take care of for years.îThe FFPD will be ending the 2011 budget year $50,000 under budget, which means they will have an additional $50,000 going into the 2012 budget year, Harwig said.The board voted to adopt the following: the 2012 budget; appropriation of money according to the budget; acceptance of the mill levy; and approval of board meeting minutes and posting sites.Strategic plan updateBoard Treasurer Phil Theodore said, ìWe still will emphasize that we have to be judicious and smart with the money.î He proposed the following series of steps for the district to take regarding the increased revenue:
- Additional payments to the principle on the loan for Fire Station 1: If the district pays an additional $200,000 per year on the loan, it can be paid off in January 2014, Theodore said, which would result in a six-figure savings in interest alone.
- Use revenue saved from payment on Fire Station 1 for apparatus replacement: Theodore noted that it will be three years before the district sees the additional revenue from paying off this loan. He suggested using that revenue as an apparatus replacement fund to use as needed. The apparatus replacement fund had previously been removed from the budget.
- Add living quarters to Fire Station 2: About five years out, Theodore estimated the district would be in a position to add living quarters to Fire Station 2, which would drop the average response time in that district, one of the busiest the FFPD covers, he said.
- Full-time salary and benefits increase: Theodore said an increase would bring the salary and benefits up to par with comparable districts.
Other items Theodore recommended: creating a training facility in the building that now stands vacant in District 6; hiring a training instructor; and adding to the reserve fund to hopefully avoid asking for another mill levy.ìThis will all be little by little,î Theodore said. ìWe can achieve this by prioritizing what we need to do. ìWe will always be conservative with what our future budget will be. The timeline for all of this will be updated annually.îFire Code amendment approval
Representatives from the FFPD and eight other agencies went before the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners in December asking for approval of local amendments to the 2009 edition of the International Fire Code. The BOCC voted 5-0 to continue the item to the Jan.17 meeting.Chief’s report
Harwig reported that the average response time is slightly less than in the past. ìWe’re doing a better job on keeping after them (the firefighters) on turn-out time,î he said. ìIt also has to do with the location of the call.îHarwig also reported that the EMS reserve program graduated eight out of nine participants at a ceremony in early December.Battalion Chief Vernon Champlin said there will be changes to the EMS program: Each shift at the FFPD will receive two specialized EMS trainings per month, which increases the number of EMS trainings from one per month to six per month, Champlin said. The trainings will be conducted at Fire Station 3.ìWe would also like to create the tradition of hosting an EMT refresher course every January,î he said.Meridian Ranch developer fees agreement
At the November board meeting, Harwig was asked to obtain more information from the Meridian Ranch developer regarding its gift agreement with the district.ìThe original agreement was tied to the sale of the lots themselves,î Harwig said. In the October board meeting, Harwig noted there are 2,800 lots total on which they can build. The developer can give the district $350 per lot over 30 years or pay a lump sum upfront.ìThey offered to take care of the rest of the subdivision at $300,000, broken into $100,000 payments for three years,î Harwig said. ìNow they want to go back to $350 per lot.îBoard director Dan Kupferer said the change was prompted by the fact that the developer is planning to build on only 122 lots in the spring and summer of 2012.Nothing was decided at this meeting, but the board will investigate before replying to the developer.