Grand Valley Fire also is seeking a mill levy increase | PostIndependent.com

Grand Valley Fire also is seeking a mill levy increase

Decreasing funds due to a decline in oil and gas activity has forced the Grand Valley Fire Protection District to cut back on many of its services and to avoid burning through all its reserves by the end of 2021.

To mitigate for that, the district serving the Parachute and Battlement Mesa areas will seek a mill levy increase on the Nov. 6 ballot.

The proposed 2.966 mill levy increase is intended to provide the district funds to bring back many of the services it had a few years ago. It would be the district's first tax increase in 19 years.

GVFPD President Kevin Whalen said the mill levy will not be for extra funding, but ensures that the budget is restored back to what it was prior to 2017. The increase will also allow the district to make annual contributions to the capital projects fund, he said.

Among the many services that are proposed to be brought back include the summer wildfire initial attack and hazard mitigation program, which helps to prevent wildfires from starting in the first place, Whalen said.

He said the district would like to bring the wildfire program back, especially after this summer's active wildfire season.

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The last mill levy increase in the district was in 1999. The district has seen a net decline in assessed value since 2008, he noted.

At the present rate of revenue, income and expenditures, the district will have used all of its reserves by the end of 2021, according to Fire Chief David Blair.

azorn@citizentelegram.com

gvfpd mill levy proposal

> Bring back the Summer Wildfire Initial Attack and Hazard Mitigation program

> Replace aging equipment and small tools used in fire and EMS response

> Increase training funds

> Return to annual physicals for operations staff

> Increase the facilities maintenance budget

> Return to previous vehicle replacement plan

> Allow volunteers the opportunity of becoming part-time employees