Following the DCI article, “Cedaredge Town Council, Sanders talks about the fire district’s future after the mill levy failure,” Fire Protection District 3 Chief Steve Hanson commented that there is no imminent danger to anyone caused by old equipment at the station.
“Our stuff is safe, even with our budget the way it is now, we can still maintain what we have,” Hanson said. “We’re not driving around in unsafe stuff or putting people in unsafe predicaments.”
According to Hanson, the mill levy would have allowed the department to purchase new apparatus in a more timely manner in order to prevent dangers caused by old equipment in the future. In their current situation, they have older trucks, Hanson said. Each truck has specific purposes and specific parts, so if a part malfunctions, there’s often a slow turnaround time to have the new part custom built.
Cedaredge Police Chief Dan Sanders, who commented on the fire department mill levy failure at a Nov. 7 Cedaredge budget meeting, said the fire district didn’t advertise the mill levy and its benefits enough, leading to its failure. According to Hanson, the lack of advertising on the ballot measure stemmed from the Fair Campaign Act, which didn’t allow the fire protection district to spend any money on advertising their cause. Hanson said the lawyer they used to write the ballot language advised them to be careful what they said.
According to Hanson, since every firefighter and board member of the department are volunteers who have other jobs and obligations, no one involved with the fire protection district was comfortable or able to set up any campaigning within the boundaries of the Fair Campaign Act within their other time constraints.
“Everyone on the fire department is a volunteer and everyone on the board is a volunteer,” Hanson said. “We all have our own lives and jobs and everything else, your every other day responsibilities to live up to.”
According to Hanson, with the mill levy having failed, Fire Protection District 3 currently has plans to start purchasing new vehicles in 2025, once they finish paying off trucks they currently have. By that point, its current trucks will be 26-27 years old, but should still pose no danger to firefighters or members of the public, Hanson said.