The Town of Buena Vista closed its Linderman Avenue fire station as of Thursday, May 13, and has entered a service agreement with Chaffee County Fire Protection District – effectively dissolving Buena Vista Fire.
Buena Vista is looking at the new partnership, which serves all properties in town limits, as a way to better use collective resources for sustainable fire services for residents, visitors, businesses, and schools, and to increase consistency and reliability for related services such as fire inspections.
Mayor Duff Lacy said in a release Thursday that this isn’t the first time the Town has floated the cost-saving idea. “The Town has entertained this concept in the past,” he said. The time was not right. With the growth we are experiencing and to maintain the level of safety and service to the citizens of the Town, we see this as a very viable option. We look forward to the combined efforts of Chaffee Fire and the Town to provide for the citizens of Buena Vista.”
Officials said the cost to operate a properly staffed, trained, and equipped fire department continues to be substantial, and that the designation of Chaffee Fire is of mutual benefit by reducing duplication of resources.
Chaffee Fire will operate out of stations 1 and 3 on Antero Circle and County Road 306, covering all of the fire emergency services they currently provide.
The Town will integrate Chaffee Fire into other operations and functions, including special events, fire drill, and emergency preparedness at schools, public education, and local emergency management.
Core fire services include: emergency services, fire code interpretation and enforcement, arson investigation, development plan reviews, permits, inspections, and prevention services.
The Town is paying for the arrangement through its general fund and property taxes won’t increase as a result. Buena Vista will be paying the equivalent amount as if all in-town properties were within the Chaffee Fire District.
Assessed values for dual protection properties already in Chaffee Fire District will be subtracted from the compensation from the Town to avoid duplication.
Officials said the level of service will remain the same, with the idea that some provisions such as inspections will become more consistent.
The Town plans to retain historic items such as photos, equipment, and documents, and work with Chaffee Fire and preservation groups to showcase them.