IGNACIO – The Los Pinos Fire Protection District took steps toward a possible tax increase ballot measure by meeting this week with key stakeholders.
The fire district has not yet decided whether it will ask taxpayers for a mill levy increase. But district staff estimate Los Pinos could run out of savings in two to four years without some kind of financial solution. The fire district can’t increase the mill levy without a public vote – leaving the district’s future in the hands of voters reluctant to increase taxes.
“We are not here to tell you what we should be,” Greg Childress, a Los Pinos Fire division chief, told a gathering of about 20 stakeholders on Monday. “We are here to inform you of what we are capable of, and let you tell us what you are interested in.”
The Los Pinos district covers 325 square miles in La Plata County and parts of the Southern Ute reservation, Archuleta County and northern New Mexico.
Childress and Tony Harwig, Los Pinos fire chief, presented six mill levy options, each of which determine what services the district can offer.
The options ranged from no increase to a small increase of about $25 per year for a $100,000 home to a large increase of about $175 per year for a $100,000 home.
The district responds to structure fires and wildland fires, power line issues, gas leaks, heart attacks, car crashes, flooded streets and other emergencies. It offers an advanced life-support ambulance service, which gives patients more medical care options during transit than more basic