So the rural tax payers were smart enough to see that to just pay an increased tax, “because that’s
what other rural districts pay” just didn’t hold any water! Thank goodness, common sense
Truly what the fire authority has done is given the City of Loveland via the Fire Department the
ability to portray them as something new, something different, something improved. In reality,
nothing has changed, the Chief is still the Chief, the city still controls the fire authority and little or
no regard to the rural residences, and truly why would a municipality care about a rural
So the Authority directors consist of 3 city staff / representative and 2 rural. Sounds OK but a little
weighted on the city side, most of these are city employees and have one thing in mind, furthering
the city of Loveland, not the rural tax payer.
Like other cities across Colorado the city of Loveland budgets based on a ZERO dollar new year, in
other words, you must, as a city department, defend, every year, every dime that the city will pay
towards your department. When the city “CUTS” department’s budgets, the money, well, it stays in
the City’s general fund and is spent as the city sees fit.
So your additional rural tax money would have gone, as it does now, into the city’s general fund and
then it would be up to the Fire authority to re-justify their costs. At any time the “City” could
determine that the Fire Authority didn’t need as much funds as was collected and they would simply
re-purpose, as they do many funds, to another pet project.
The city has shown time and again, it’s ability to trick the tax payers into agreeing to be taxed for
one thing and then redirect while no one is looking to another project.
This may sound fantastic or out of this world, but truly, no one seems to care, no one seems to care
that funds are collected under one guise then distributed as council, staff or the city manager deem
appropriate. Take a minute, request some city financials and see for yourself, from CEF, permit
fees, sales tax, special purpose tax, the city has a clear record of redistributing funds intended for
one purpose into the current pet project.
So you may ask “would I ever be in favor of an increased rural tax”. My answer is yes, I would,
when there is a TRUE independent protection district created, that operates completely separate
from both the City and the Rural Board. Remember, the Rural board, except for one member, was
in favor of increasing your taxes for no reason, except it’s what others are paying.
True anonymity and breaking all ties with both the City and the Rural management, operating and
reporting to the tax payers and being responsible to them, not only from a fire scene and
emergency response aspect but fiscally too.
That will be the only way that you can assure your tax money will truly benefit you as a member of a
fire protection district. Until then, the city and LEASE the buildings and equipment and the RURAL
can lease the buildings and equipment back to this Authority, that really, is run by city staffers and
has only one goal in mind. To build and justify a larger, more employees, more equipment, more
responses fire department without due regard for any or all of the taxpayers they are supposed to
So, now what? Well, be prepared, be prepared for service cuts, for excuses as to why they are not
able to do what they have been doing for the last 30 years. Be prepared for excuses as to why
they will show up to put out your foundation but not be able to arrive in time to save your house. Be
prepared for the scare tactics they will use when it comes to medical response, and be prepared for
them to take and destroy the only true Volunteer Fire department left, that is Big Thompson Canyon
Volunteer Fire Department, because the authority has convinced these group of volunteers that
there is nothing to fear no changes will be made, well except those that drove away the volunteers
in Loveland. Soon enough you will hear that there are not enough volunteer responses in the
canyon’s district to support the fire call load and that full time staffing is needed, and yes, another
set of volunteers will be hired to fill these positions and more of your tax money will be spent
building a larger organization.
So, when the Chief stands in front of you and tells you that services are being cut, it would be time
to stand up and speak up and ask, what has changed? Why Now? What has broken this year, that
was working last year? What has changed this week compared to last week. It is time to hold your
chief, rural board and city staff and council fiscally responsible for their actions. It is time to hold the
people personally responsible for the lack of fiduciary to keep you and your families safe. Because
they are in a place of Faith, Trust, and according to state law, they are NOT EXEMPT from
prosecution when they violate their fiduciary responsibilities, when they violate public trust, when
they violate public safety and when they violate the faith, the public has put into them to keep their
interests in mind and act responsibly, fiscally and morally. This would be the time to hold these
public officials to their office and their word and their duty, and when they fail, hold them
I applaud the rural taxpayer base for making the right choice, just remember, this is only the first
step, the first step in making sure your money, your welfare and your life are in the right hands.
|Loveland's Independent News Source
|Rural Fire Tax Defeat
Commentary By Eric Blake
June 11, 2012