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Tri-Lakes Monument Fire asks voters for improvements and wage increase

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MONUMENT -

The Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District is asking for help from voters with the passage of a mill levy increase to replace aging emergency vehicles and equipment, repair the inside of fire stations and bring their wages back up to scale. 

"We need to solve the problem and we need to solve it this year," Chief Chris Truty of the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District said.

Chris Truty is asking his community for help. 

"We have not been able to keep up with the number of things that we've either been able to replace, need to replace or for that matter, wages for our firefighters," he said.

He says financially, the Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District has been struggling since the recession.

"Guys are going on calls and they're concerned whether or not the vehicle is going to break down, or whether or not the equipment is going to function or fail, we're talking about lives, not just the firefighter lives, but potentially the people that we are going to help in the community," he said.

That's why they're hoping to pass a mill levy next week which will cost the taxpayer $3.41 a month which adds up to $40.91 per $100,000 household.

Not everyone is sold on the cost but most agree, this service is critical to their area.

"A smaller adjustment in one year would be easier but in general I'd be supportive of it because we've had fire issues and I think they're going to continue," James Bame, a Monument resident said.

Bame knows the need all too well, he's one of the thousands that were on pre-evacuation notice for the Black Forest Fire.

"We do the clearing and everything we can to keep the trees away from the structures but the fire trucks showing up would certainly be a good reinforcement," Bame said.

But Chief Truty says they've been struggling to even keep trained workers, because they've been paying 25 percent less than the average firefighter along the Front Range.

"People are actually leaving to go to fire departments that pay much more than we do and we have to stop that," Truty said.

He says this is a safety issue, especially since the community is expected to grow by up to 10,000 people in the next decade.

If approved, this is projected to add $2.75 million to their existing $6 million budget.

If this doesn't pass, the fire department plans to approach the community again for more help because they say, this problem is not going away anytime soon.

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