Looks like the area fire departments could use some better public relations spin doctors.
First Eagle botched the override election by having a single polling place for the fire district while voters at other precincts in the city–not the same boundaries as the fire district–didn’t realize they had to vote twice if they wanted to be heard on the override levy issue.
As if that weren’t enough, they made some enemies over what some call “tasteless ads” for their annual nut feed. The Rocky Mountain Oyster event has been a mainstay in Eagle for years. How can you be “tasteful” when you are trying to sell fresh testicles cut off of what were once cute little bulls.
Now the Robie Creek Volunteer Fire Department is coming–can we say it?–UNDER FIRE. From what we can see, there are some well intended folks who want to do the old Ben Franklin thing and have their own fire department. Robie Creek is the area off Highway 21 at the upper end of Lucky Peak Reservoir.
It isn’t that easy. To qualify as a “fire department” you have to create a district which has specific boundaries. The people in the district vote to create an AD VALOREM taxing district. That means the commissioners have the authority to levy taxes against the value of your property.
Lacking any taxing authority, we are told the Robie Creek Department is simply sending out “Invoices” to property owners. No one is compelled to pay the bills, but it looks official and no doubt many people WANT to pay. These “associations” as they are known in some areas are well intended, seldom recognized by insurance companies, and often depend upon donations for their existence. They are usually a “pay as you go” proposition and the threat of “no response” if you don’t pay is often enough to shame homeowners into ponying up.
The GUARDIAN reader who sent us the invoice was troubled by the tactic of billing for services not requested or authorized by law. It appears to be a tax bill to some and the timing is perfect since property tax assessments are going out simultaneously. The easy fix is to simply send out a plea for “donations” and there would be no foul.
We think this one could warrant a response from the Attorney General. The consumer protection branch will actually help citizens without an invite from elected officials. The AG reads the GUARDIAN, so we will keep you posted.
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