We get asked this question quite frequently, “What is the difference between a fire district and a fire department?” Honestly within the operational components of a fire district or fire department, there really is not much difference. However, within the funding mechanisms and governing of the organization there are a lot of differences. A fire district is a special district and that is what Frederick-Firestone Fire District is. A special district is a quasi-municipal corporation and political subdivision of the State of Colorado formed to provided necessary public services that the county or municipality cannot provide or has chosen not to provide. Many times, a district may encompass towns, cities, and unincorporated areas within its boundaries.
Many people believe since our name is Frederick-Firestone Fire District the Towns of Frederick and Firestone fund and govern the Fire District. This is not the case. We work as partners with the Towns, but the Fire District has its own governing body and funding mechanisms separate from the Towns. When a city or town has its own fire and emergency medical services, it is normally called a fire department. Our Fire District is governed by a five-person Board of Directors, who are elected by the registered electors within the District to staggered four-year terms. A special district must comply with the open meeting laws, public budget laws, and public audit requirements with the State of Colorado. There are many other regulations and statutes that the Fire District must also follow under Title 32 Special Districts in the State of Colorado.
The Fire District is authorized to utilize a few ways to raise revenues. Unlike a municipality or corporation, a special district can raise revenues by issuing debt, levying taxes, grants, and imposing some fees and charges for services rendered. The issuance of debt or an increase in taxes first requires an election and approval by the qualified voters of the District, as required by TABOR (Section 20, Article 10 of the Colorado Constitution). The amount of debt proposed at an election will typically be greater than the amount the District intends to issue in order to account for contingencies and unforeseen circumstances, such as growth within a community while facing reduced assessed valuations and inflation. Next month we will provide more information on frequently asked questions we receive here at Frederick-Firestone Fire District.
Remember: We lead together, by serving together.
Respectfully yours in service.
Jeremy A. Young – Fire Chief
Frederick-Firestone Fire District