PUEBLO — Penrose and the surrounding areas could have Emergency Medical Services respond faster than ever, as ballot measure 6C appears to pass by an overwhelming majority.
Ballot 6C is an initiative out of Penrose for a 10 Mill Levy increase in the already existing property tax to fund full-time EMTs and purchase new ambulances.
Election night’s unofficial results showed 6C passing 70% to 30%.
“You just don't see that type of vote very much, and as I watched other things around the state in various places (like) El Paso county… It’s rare to get that positive response to something,” said Richard Hilderbrand, who helped bring 6C to live in a matter of several months, with roughly $2,500.00 for campaigning.
If 6C officially passes, Bill Ritter, Florence Fire Protection District’s Chief, says they will begin seeing money from the tax increase in January.
“Some of our older guys who were thinking about retiring may hang on a little bit longer now since it's going to get easier, and our newer guys are excited about the opportunity for jobs,” said Ritter.
He says after filling out paperwork and sorting out the legal side of things, their first priority will be to hire full-time EMTs.
FFPD wants to hire enough full-time staff members to have one ambulance in Florence and one in Penrose staffed 24/7.
The EMS will tend to the same districts the FFPD already does: Rockvail, Williamsburg, Coal Creek, Florence, and Penrose.
Penrose’s Volunteer Fire Station suspended all EMT services on July 4th, saying they no longer have enough volunteers to maintain service.
This will be the first paid-staff the FFPD has had since the 1930s and their first Mill Levy increase since 1986.