Lewis Arriola fire district asks to deBruce, raise mill levy
This election year, the Lewis Arriola Fire Protection District is presenting two important issues to district taxpayers for favorable consideration. Both of these issues will be included on the November 2013 mail-in election ballot.
The first issue involved “deBrucing” the department fully from the currently mandated Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights limitations, often called TABOR limitations.
The second issue regards a modest mill-levy increase, allowing the department to be more in line with state mill-levy averages.
Voting in favor of these issues would assist the department immensely to continue providing the residents of this district with the first-rate emergency services to which they are accustomed.
In 1998, Lewis Arriola Fire Protection District taxpayers voted in favor of deBrucing from the TABOR regulations. However, according to state officials, the wording used on that ballot accounted for only a partial deBrucing from TABOR regulations.
The district is still currently mandated under TABOR’s 5.5 percent limitation clause. Because of this restriction, the department currently receives 1.792 of the current 3.090 mill levy. If district taxpayers vote in favor of completely deBrucing from TABOR, the department would be eligible for full funding.
Lewis Arriola Fire Protection District’s mill levy is one of the lowest mill levies for fire districts in Colorado. It is among the lowest mill levy in Montezuma County. Current mill levies within the county range from the highest, Cortez Fire District’s mill levy of 6.899, to the lowest, Pleasant View Fire District, currently at 5.000.
Even thought the district’s population, housing, etc., continue to steadily increase, Lewis Arriola Fire Protection District has not requested a mill levy increase in over a decade. This time, the district is asking taxpayers to favorably consider a mill levy increase of 1.910. This proposed increase would raise the mill levy to 5.000, which is more in line with countywide mill levies and state mill-levy averages as well.
The Lewis Arriola Fire Protection District is a strong and dedicated volunteer fire department that takes pride in protecting the community. We currently have 27 members, one main station, three substations and 12 response vehicles. The department recently underwent a rigorous ISO evaluation and improved the department rating. Fire department ISO ratings are taken into consideration when quoting property insurance. Because of this change, the district suggests that all property owners contact their insurance company and request an updated quote.
As the department continues to grow to meet the demands of an ever-expanding population, space to house district vehicles and equipment has become a great concern. The main station is not structurally sound, and much of the equipment and apparatus is in need of upgrading or to be completely replaced. The department recently received a grant from the Department of Local Affairs to assist with replacing this station. The district currently has, and plans to provide, matching funds to complete the project. Should these ballot issues pass, the increase in funding would greatly assist the department with achievement of these goals.
The Lewis Arriola Fire Department will be host an open house from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 26 at the main station. The department will be serving hot dogs and hamburgers with all the fixings. Please plan to attend, if possible, and bring any questions or concerns with you.