BY FREDA MIKLIN
It took years and at least one election to get all the local public officials involved to agree to put the question to voters in their cities, but on May 8, it finally happened. The citizens of Littleton and Highlands Ranch had the opportunity to declare their preference for retaining their stand-alone local fire departments or joining the region’s big player, South Metro Fire Rescue (SMFR), an internationally accredited agency with 17, 24-hour fire stations and a host of special teams. In addition to firefighters and paramedics, SMFR has sworn personnel with extra training in aircraft firefighting and rescue, water rescue and recovery, urban search and rescue, SWAT medic, technical rescue and wildland urban interface firefighting. SMFR also has specialized vehicles to perform the tasks associated with those extra duties.
When the residents finally got the opportunity to voice their opinion, 91 percent of those voting in Littleton and 96 percent of those voting in Highlands Ranch said yes to joining SMFR. The standard mill levy of 9.25 mills, applied throughout the 285 square mile district, will go into effect in 2019, when service is transferred. With the addition of Littleton and Highlands Ranch, along with the recently acquired Cunningham Fire Protection District, SMFR will serve over half a million Colorado front range residents.
There are already plans to build a new fire station in Highlands Ranch. The stations in the Littleton Fire Protection District will be evaluated in all aspects to determine if additional resources are indicated, as firefighters from that agency join SMFR.
Very pleased with the election results, SMFR issued this statement: “We’ve seen that unification of fire districts is occurring across the U.S. as it’s a way to improve services and create efficiencies – and this one is no different. We are thrilled at the outcome of the election and look forward to 2019 where we can bring over incredible firefighters from Littleton Fire Rescue and provide exceptional service to additional citizens and new communities within our boundaries.”
There was another election in the area on May 8. Eight men and one woman ran for three open seats in the South Suburban Parks and Recreation District. Elected to serve for the next four years were retired technical trainer and chair of her city’s senior commission Susan Pye of Centennial, youth soccer executive and longtime SSPR volunteer Pete Barrett of Littleton, and retired aerospace project manager and chair of his city’s recreation advisory committee, Dave Lawful of Lone Tree.
2017 All Rights Reserved. Villager Publishing |