Foothills Fire will ask voters for a tax hike
The Foothills Fire Protection District will be asking voters for bail and a factory tax increase, so it can buy property and build a fire station to help reduce emergency response times.
The questions, which will be on the Nov. 8 ballot, are the first time the department has asked voters for a property tax increase since Foothills was established in 1997. The department will ask for nearly $13 million in total, and s ‘It’s approved, homeowners pay about $54 per $100,000 of property assessment. The owner of a $500,000 home would pay $270 more in property taxes each year.
The department hopes to acquire property in Paradise Hills, which is in the middle of the district, for a new station, paid for by surety, which would become the department’s headquarters. He asks for a raise of 1 million to pay for the operations of the department, including the upkeep of the new station.
Foothills is moving forward with planning for a new station despite comments from a developer that it would build a facility at the department to replace the El Rancho station under the proposed Gateway development. Fire Chief Alan Anderson said he’s not confident the developer will be able to build a new station in the foreseeable future, and the district needs a new station sooner rather than later.
The department’s stations are old — one is 70 years old — and lack up-to-date safety measures for firefighters, Anderson said. Additionally, he said a new station would include accommodation for a volunteer firefighter, so the firefighter could leave for emergency calls more quickly.
Currently, when a call comes in, firefighters must go to the station to pick up fire trucks and devices before going to a call.
Foothills volunteer service has roots that go back decades. It was formed in 1997 when the Mount Vernon, Idledale and Lookout Mountain fire departments combined to create a larger district that encompasses 25 square miles. It currently has four fire stations: El Rancho, Lookout Mountain, Idledale, and Grapevine, which is near I-70 and exit 256.
The department had a fifth station which it closed last year when it lost the building lease. The fire headquarters in El Rancho is actually a double-wide trailer.
Council Chairman Duey Freeman noted that a new station would serve the department for the next 50 years, believing that population growth would continue so the need for emergency services would continue to increase.
The council agreed it was important to get the word out to voters, and Anderson said he would meet with homeowners associations and other groups to explain the proposal and its benefits to the community. In addition, the department will send information to residents of the district.
The council hired OZ Architecture in Denver to design the proposed station. Anderson noted that he hopes the district could afford to build a 14,000 square foot fire hall, but with rising construction costs, the proposed building will be smaller with room for additions to the building. ‘coming.