Be glad you voted yes
If you are one of the folks grousing a little about the Basalt and Rural Fire District mill levy increase, let me share with you why I voted in favor.First, I admit that special districts get on my nerves as much as anyone’s. It seems like every time I turn around, there’s another taxing layer popping up. Having said that, let me add that since we have decided, as a community, to tolerate growth and sprawl, we must also be able to pay for that growth and provide public protection for us all. The fire district increase was a deal at only about $15.0 per $100,000 assessed value.Let me list a few other reasons you can be glad if you voted yes … and even if you voted no.TABOR limits our ability to raise taxes to around 5.5 percent. Growth around here runs 7 percent and higher. The gap needs filling if we are to maintain a real and livable community.Although there was a bond passed in 1996 under a previous fire chief’s watch, it only paid for capitol – five trucks and a new station. Our new chief was left holding the bag for maintainance and operations. The shortfall needs to be addressed.Because of voter-approved new revenues, we will go from part-time to 24-hour emergency response in the midvalley. The increased revenues will make sure someone shows up at your door quickly for your heart attack, your child’s back yard accident, or any other emergency trauma event you may or may not have scheduled.A 1999 study by the Northern Illinois University on the fiscal costs and public safety risks of low-density development cited a couple specifics about why it’s in all our best interest to take care of our local fire/emergency folks.According to the American Heart Association, after a person has suffered a heart attack, every minute that goes by without restoring the normal heart beat decreases the chance of survival by about 10 percent. Ideally, response should be within four to six minutes. If the brain does not receive oxygen within that time, the brain cells begin to die; and the person may suffer irreversible damage.The National Fire Protection Association has been quoted as recommending a ceiling of six minutes for fire response. If a fire has been burning for six minutes, temperatures reach such extreme levels that a person is unlikely to survive.In case you didn’t get my drift, paying for good fire and emergency medical protection is not an option. Be glad that the majority of us voted yes.Jacque R. WhitsittBasalt Town Councilwoman
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