Since the hiring of a full time paid fire chief in 1990 it seems like everyone who has served in that
position has thought of only one thing; expanding by putting more people on payroll and
more people on trucks. Keep mind,of course, that as the city has grown so have the revenue
sources for funding the fire department. Loveland’s population boomed from an 18,000 residences
community to over 50,000 residences while always increasing the tax revenue base for the fire
The LRFPD has always had a great relationship with the city. Initially they were paying ¼ of the
employment and overhead costs for fire service in cash, straight from rural taxes, and also
offsetting that by purchasing rural equipment that was shared between city and rural calls. This
was a great working agreement as the city benefited by not having to purchase equipment and the
rural benefited by having city staff respond to rural district calls.
Then something happened, not sure exactly what, but some in the city not familiar with the
arrangement, started to question who was getting the benefit; rural or city. It looked like the city
was responding to a lot of rural calls and it seem to be an equitable amount of reimbursement to the
This is where the entire agreement started to break down. Loveland has always enjoyed good solid
growth, as a matter of fact so much so that when they wanted to grow they would annex rural into
the city to generate more income. Of course all this did was take money directly out of the LRFPD
pocket and place it straight into city coffers since the city didn’t reimburse rural for the capital cost
of the buildings.
This practice continues today, with the LRFPD tax base slowly eroding through the expansion of the
city by annexation.
So as the LRFPD area continued to grow and the city continued to annex, the districts cash flow
started to dwindle, not increase. Yet the city, still wanting a percentage continued to aggressively
go after the rural tax payer’s money from LRFPD.
However, things are much different now, we have a Fire Protection Authority. Completely different,
well, kinda not! No equipment has left the city or the rural and no buildings have exchanged hands,
not really all this is a just a coat of paint on top of what the city already had. The city had a fire
department, trying to grow under the guise of protecting the citizens and no way for the rural tax
payers to make up the difference.
But now, there is an authority, run by city staffers, the representatives on the “board” are all “On
board” with the city and needing more money.
So here are the facts. Loveland has grown, significantly, and growth should pay it’s own way. More
people, more businesses more taxes more funds for all departments, well, except the fact that
everyone is funded by a budget process that has no resemblance of any kind of logic or business
So poor management and funding by the city has caused the fire department to attempt to gain
funds from another source, such as the LRFPD, and now the authority is making the same claims,
stating other rural residences in other communities pay so much more for fire than LRFPD
Ok, that is like my kid saying I want to do that because billy’s mom and dad let him. Really? What
LRFPD has enjoyed is solid financial responsibility of its board members in providing high quality
fire protection without the exorbitant costs that others around pay for, well, frankly the same thing.
Why is this, why has LRFPD been so frugal while others simply tax more. One word, volunteers.
When LVFD was at its peak, there were over 73 volunteers donating over 17 ½ FTE hours to the
fire service. (FTE – Full Time Employee) These men and women were like having 17 + additional
employees in the fire service. Unfortunately this also meant that there were not as many paid staff
needed as volunteers who did a lot of the work and as a matter of fact volunteers did everything
from Incident command to driver operator, some even certified for driving front line equipment.
But as time went on, the city realized that to grow, they couldn’t rely on the volunteers, or at least
that is what was said, in practice the volunteers were there and did the same job as full time staff.
But, to help the volunteers along (out the door) the city decided to make training and certification
more important than the actual performance of the job. Keep in mind at this time all volunteers
were Fire Fighter 1 certified, 90% had medical training, there were even a hand full of paramedics
most were trained at the EMT level. All of this certified by the state and the federal government, but,
that wasn’t enough so as the training hours increased, due to the city wanting more, additional
certificates were imposed, above and beyond state and federal levels, the volunteers quickly faded,
in the end training more than doing what they loved to do, serve the community.
Since the demise of the volunteers in Loveland, they city fire department and now the fire authority
continue to look for additional funding, funding to make up for the loss of 17 full time employees.
They are still trying to get there.
This all brings us to today as the Fire Authority is asking rural tax payers for more funds. Here is
what you must ask and answer for yourself.
What will I as a rural tax payer get for this almost double increase in mil levy, better fire protection?
Let me help you with this, no, you won’t. You won’t see any of the benefit of this and here is why.
Location. The city tax payers will see the advantage as they will have more staff on fire trucks. The
rural, because it is so spread out, will not see any reduction in fire insurance because of an
improved rating. Most of LRFPD is at a 9 and will remain there as the only way to improve this in the
rural is building fire stations, then only the homes within a very short distance are improved.
Don’t kid yourself, they (Fire Authority) will come up with lots of improvements that mean nothing to
your fire protection and everything to the city residences and home owners.
I am sure there will be threats of reduced responses, houses burning to the ground, wildland fires
out of control and so on. So just be prepared, there will be scary stories of what will happen if you
don’t approve the rural fire property tax increase.
When these stories come up, you need to ask the Fire Authority why they run a $750,000 piece of
equipment to 80% of non-fire calls. What are some other ways you can SAVE this money instead of
just taxing the rural residents more? Why is there not a tax increase for the City Residence, as they
are paying significantly less for fire protection than surrounding cities and towns as well?
I can tell you this, as a City Resident, I hope you approve the tax increase, it will benefit me and I am
hoping for lower homeowner’s insurance costs. Thank you rural tax payers!
|Loveland's Independent News Source
|Decorated Firefighter Challenges
Need For Rural Fire Tax Hike
Commentary By Eric Blake
Loveland, April 19, 2012
The LRFPD (Loveland Rural Fire Protect District) is asking rural
voters for a mil levy increase. I must say I am not a rural tax
payer, so this is not going to affect me directly. However, the
LRFPD has been a large part of my life for many years. I have
seen them grow and provide outstanding service to the
community that they serve for many years.
The formation of the Protection District has had a direct impact
on this request. Since I went to my first board meeting years ago
as a representative of the volunteer fire department, it was clear
that the board members were great stewards of tax payer’s
money. They supported volunteers both in Loveland and Big
Thompson Canyon without question. They valued what
volunteers brought to the table like low overhead (no employment
costs) and a dedicated resource of community members who
wanted to serve their neighbors.
|Loveland Fire Department when
volunteers made-up much of the rank
and file - click to enlarge
LOVELAND RURAL FIRE
PROTECTION DISTRICT BALLOT
ISSUE 1A: MAIL-IN BALLOT ONLY
Approximately 23,000 residents who
live in Loveland's Rural Fire
Protection District (outside city limits)
are being asked to vote on a Mill
Levy increase of 40% from between
now and 2017.
If approved, property tax mill levy for
rural fire protection will increase from
5.808 Mills to 9.808.
Ballots are being mailed to all active
registered voters in the rural district
beginning April 16, 2012 through
April 20, 2012. Ballots are due back
before May 8, 2012 to be counted.
The City of Loveland and Rural Fire
Protection District have been
coordinating efforts to lobby for the
tax through a campaign they call
"winning with the facts."
LovelandPolitics first broke the story
of the rural fire tax increase being
planned in our February 1, 2012
story about fire safety.
About the Author
Eric Blake began his service with the
Loveland Fire Department in 1990
and retired in 2004. During his
career he worked his way up the
ranks starting as firefighter,
Lieutenant, Captain, Division Chief
and finally as Vice President of
In addition, Blake was Fireman of the
year in Loveland 1999.
Below is a brief list of other awards
and recognitions Blake received:
FF1 Certified, First Responder,
CPR, Driver Operator,
Ice Rescue, Rope Rescue, Red
Card Certified (Wildland Fire Fighter)
Fire scene IC Certified through
Instructed wildland including reading
smoke, initial size up, weather and
incident command sections for red
1990 top 10% fire calls
1990 Top 10% department activity
1993 Recognized City of Loveland
Volunteer Recognition award
1999 Rope team member of the year
1999 Fireman of the year
2000 Chief’s commendation letter for
Fire ground control of a wildfire
2002 Loveland Honors award