Letter from the Fire Chief
As Fire Chief for the Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District, I am responsible for making sure that the community has the resources it needs for the best response in the case of an emergency. Although our current fire station served us well, the structure is failing and the space isn’t sufficient to conduct operations safely and efficiently. The foundation is shifting, there is a lack of covered parking for our equipment, and there is a pressing need for more storage and working space. All of these factors have an impact on how we do our jobs.
Over the past 10 years, the District Board has led an effort to understand the needs of the fire district and to determine what resources are required to better serve you. With the help of a citizen task force, a strategic plan was developed which recommended an evaluation of the current facility. This evaluation found the building to be in serious need of replacement and was too costly to remodel. After completing a space analysis and conducting a conceptual planning process, the district is proposing to replace the existing fire station with a new one at the same location. The new station will provide for a safe and efficient environment for our first responders, will add covered space needed for all of the equipment and apparatus, and will provide new living and work space that is in compliance with building, energy and accessibility codes.
The cost for the new station is in keeping with a quality building that will allow us to better serve the community now and for future generations. It will be a safe, efficient and attractive building that will provide the additional space, storage and faster access to equipment that our station currently lacks. On-site housing for our firefighters will be improved—an important aspect of our recruitment and retention program. An emergency response command center and vital training room will be added, and parking and traffic function will be improved.
Please stop by the station anytime. We’d be happy to give you a tour and talk more about the plans for the new station.
Fire Chief, Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District
office 970-923-2212 | cell 970-618-9401
OUR 45-YEAR-OLD STATION IS FALLING APART
Since the original fire station was built in 1971, it has been upgraded a number of times to try to keep pace with a growing district. As the building ages, its structural integrity continues to degrade, and continual repairs are needed that drive operational costs up. In addition, the station does not have enough space to shelter all the emergency response vehicles and fire trucks. Interior spaces aren’t properly designed for today’s emergencies. For example, washing contaminated equipment after incidents (an essential operation) is done in the open bays rather than a separate room, leading to potentially unhealthy conditions.
ON NOVEMBER 8, 2016, THE SNOWMASS WILDCAT FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT WILL ASK VOTERS TO APPROVE A MIL LEVY INCREASE TO FUND CONSTRUCTION OF A NEW FIRE HOUSE. THE MIL LEVY WILL FUND A BOND OF $17,000,000 FOR CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW STATION ON THE SITE OF THE EXISTING STATION.
The existing Fire Station is 45 years old and is about 17,000 square feet in size. Since 1971, the station has been upgraded a number of times to try to keep pace with a growing town. As the building ages, its structural integrity continues to degrade, and continual repairs are needed that drive operational costs up. In addition, the station doesn’t have enough space to shelter all the emergency response vehicles and fire trucks. Administrative personnel have to share office space, and conducting operations such as washing contaminated equipment after incidents has to be done in the bays rather than a separate room, leading to potentially unsanitary conditions.
It has come to a point where the old Fire Station has become a fiscal and organizational burden to the District. Without a new station, operational costs will continue to increase, the safety issues will continue, and the overall efficiency of the organization will constantly be jeopardized. It makes organizational and financial sense to replace the station now so that the emergency-response needs of the Village and its tourism-based economy can be satisfied in the best and most efficient manner, both now and into the future.
How much is the Fire District asking for?
The Fire District is asking voters to approve a $17,000,000 bond issue for the construction of the new station. An additional mil levy, or increase in your property taxes, is required to fund the bond. The increase will be about $95/year for a home with an assessed value of $500,000. Listed below are some examples of what the tax increase would be for different types of property:
CALCULATE YOUR PROPERTY TAX
The cost to residential property owners in the Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District is approximately $95 per year/per $500,000 of assessed real property value. Calculate your property tax.
How did we arrive at the size for the new station?
In 2011, the District conducted a space needs analysis that analytically determined the appropriate space required to safely and efficiently operate the Fire Station. In all, this analysis determined a need for about a 30,000 square foot facility. The District then worked diligently to design the space for efficient and effective use. This has resulted in a new Fire Station design that encompasses 26,700 square feet of finished space and adequately provides a facility that will improve operational functions and provide a safe working environment for our first responders.
What will the District and the community gain by building a new station?