Letter: Anyone with emergency expects response | PostIndependent.com
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Letter: Anyone with emergency expects response

Charlotte Graham Whitney
Marble/Redstone

In response to Allyn Harvey’s “keep-a-close-eye” opinion on Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District (CRFPD):

Harvey ends his perceived mismanagement of the department’s budgeting with: “millions of tax dollars have been spent … to provide the same level of service for remote areas like Missouri Heights (and Marble?) as in densely populated areas like Carbondale, Redstone and West Bank.”

First — what “millions” spent? CRFPD annual property tax revenue is $1.5 million a year … total. I write about local history and I know that CRFPD was organized by volunteers in the 1950s to fight fires and that most of this district’s taxpaying populace was rural until little more than a decade ago.

Second — Harvey may not realize another loaded insinuation when criticizing a used 100-foot ladder truck by stating “tallest building [in district] is about 35 feet.”

District taxpayers living on hillsides around here have a more appreciative view of that firefighting equipment and welcome the reduced insurance rates for the ISO rating the fire district has.

From ’50s on, CRFPD funding is solely by property tax mill levy and has served this district’s community well for everyone’s 5.9 mills portion of tax revenue, comparatively little in actual dollars for life-saving services.

CRFPD consists of about 65 volunteers and 18 paid staff to handle scheduling, training and general business management. Its leadership/management team has provided good equipment and excellent training opportunities for volunteers to provide essential public services in ALL of its field stations. Volunteers’ time is valued and respected and some eventually moving into paid positions. Notably, more than half of them live outside Carbondale’s core, knowing full well their residential “remoteness.”

What’s changed? A) last seven-eight years, a recession tanking property values that cut CRFPD budget 40 percent. B) at the very same time many more people moving into Carbondale from Aspen and other big cities like Denver, Dallas, etc. expecting — nay, demanding professional emergency services — like they get “back home.”

What else has changed? How many fire calls does the fire department get today? Most all are ambulance calls requiring certified EMTs more than volunteer paramedic/firefighters. Today, there are, at minimum, three emergency calls to the Carbondale station 24/7, 365 days a year. “Don’t understand a trade-off?” What are you really saying, Mr. Carbondale trustee? And to whom?

I just know that anyone who has an emergency pretty much “expects” an answer to their 911 call — however long it takes.


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