Up until now the ECT hasn’t taken a position on the much more difficult Ballot question – issue 5A.
5A is the request by the (Eagle River Protection District) for more or your Property Tax money.
5A directly involves Governments #1 job – Public Safety. Just one of the difficulties of deciding about funding Fire Protection is that it is very much like buying Insurance. How much is enough? How much can we (as a community) afford?
What remains unexplained today by the proponents of the Tax Increase known as 5A – is why our ERFP District “has to have” a property tax increase – while ALL THE OTHER County Fire Districts ARE NOT asking for one…
You ask…which Fire Districts (also dependent on Property Taxes) are NOT asking for a Property Tax Increase? Vail, Eagle, Gypsum, our County Airport and as far as the ECT knows neither is Basalt. Our friends currently running our Ambulance District(s) are not asking for a Property Tax Increase either. Does this seem quite right to you Mr. and Mrs. Taxpayer?
(photo – left ERFPD Chief Charlie Moore – right, his peer from the Eagle County Ambulance District – General Manager Fred Morrison)
Why did long time ERFP District Chief Charlie Moore announce he was leaving the department two weeks before the November 1st election? Wouldn’t it make more sense to announce after the election?
What we know: The ERFPD has ~$3 Million in cash reserves – that could be used to provide the same level of fire protection we have today in the District. Deficit financing as we all know is not a sustainable business model. We also know that an emergency “mutual aid” fire protection pact is in place that allows each Fire District to reasonably assist the other Fire District(s) as men and fire engines allow.
FACT IS: There is no such thing as a “temporary” property tax increase. Every single Tax Authority can at ANYTIME ask for an additional Tax Increase depending on what they want. Our elected School Board and their 3 bond issues over 10 years ($230 Million total) is proof enough of this.
Alarm Bells went off at the ECT when the ECT saw the letter from the head of our local firefighters union come out and support this Property Tax Increase to his organizations direct benefit. Look no further than the formerly financially viable State of California – to see what Public Sector Unions (salaries/benefits/pensions) have done to that State. Ditto for concerns about Public Sector Teacher Unions as well.
One more point: After checking with Eagle County’s Finance Office this past week the ECT learned that Eagle County has ~$14 Million unspent cash reserve in the County’s Open Space fund. Anybody want to talk about what our community “needs” vs. what some in our community “want”? The ECT does, the Fishwrap folks obviously don’t! More on this later.
One answer is clear, something is broken in Eagle County. Clearly too much Property Tax money allocated for what we “want” not enough for the public safety items we “need”.
As to the answer – whether to pay for this public safety related Property Tax Increase or not – the ECT leaves it up to our Reader. How much Fire Protection is enough? For Eagle County families facing their homes Foreclosure after Job Loss – the answer is certainly clear.