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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news May 22, 2015

6/8/2013 6:00:00 AM
Reduced budget for fire district in the works, CYFD board member tells council
Ken Hedler
The Daily Courier

PRESCOTT VALLEY - A Central Yavapai Fire District board member who was elected on a slate committed to reducing the tax rate updated the Town Council Thursday on the district's proposed budget.

Developer Steve Rutherford prepared a slide presentation showing assessed valuation over the past five fiscal years and projected figures for the next five years for the fire district, which serves Prescott Valley and a wide swatch of unincorporated area.

Rutherford said the district has proposed a $17.3 budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year beginning July 1, down from an $18.6 million budget.

"There are a lot of folks that think I'm the bad guy," Rutherford said.

He told the council members that the figures he cited came from district staff, but he prepared the charts.

Voters in the district elected Rutherford and Debbie Horton this past November as part of a three-person slate committed to lowering the tax rate, which is now $2.46 per $100 in secondary assessed valuation, according to the district's website. The maximum allowed rate is $3.25 per $100 in secondary assessed valuation.

"My hope is that budget will come down," Rutherford told the council.

Councilwoman Patty Lasker, who has criticized the district's tax rate and met with property owners who oppose the rates, commented, "This is a very, very serious situation that we are facing. Something has to change."

Rutherford said, "We have to be more efficient."

Councilman Rick Anderson said he holds the firefighters in the highest regard.

Councilman Michael Whiting said he attended the May 21 district board meeting in which the board evaluated Fire Chief Paul Nies in public. He said several people in attendance were rude to the board members.

Mayor Harvey Skoog applauded Rutherford for bringing the matter to the council's attention.

Rutherford lives in the unincorporated area west of Prescott Valley, but is a developer in town who is also past chairman of the Prescott Valley Economic Development Foundation.

A Central Yavapai firefighter who attended the council meeting declined to comment on the discussion about the district.

The council also certified the results from the May 21 council runoff election - in which Marty Grossman won - and adopted the tentative budgets for several community facilities districts.

A work/study session followed in which the council discussed the voucher program that helps pay for rides for clients of the Northern Arizona Council of Governments. The town is budgeting $50,000 for the voucher program for the upcoming fiscal year, the same amount as in 2012-13.

"We are dealing with budget cuts," said Vicki Mastriani, fiscal officer for NACOG in Prescott. She added Prescott Valley has supported the voucher program financially since making a $20,000 contribution in 2001.

Mastriani said NACOG clients are asked to pay $2 for rides. Prescott Valley residents use the vouchers to pay for rides to take them shopping, to medical appointments and other purposes.

The program provides an average of 428 rides per month for Prescott Valley residents, Mastriani said.

She said the program helps elderly people who do not have family in the area.

Council members also listened to presentations from Ken Stanton, manager of operations in the Public Works Department, on annual contracts for a variety of services.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Patty Brookins

Thank you, Jim Dotzler, for your heartfelt comments. Our firefighters do a thankless job every day, as the negative comments in these blogs will attest. In fighting the fire in your backyard, in full protective gear, I'm sure the temps were broiling for the crews. Good job by both departments working together!

As a relatively new member of the CYFD team (in HR) I see first-hand the good work done by our strong work team, and I see the thick skin our firefighters have to grow sometimes to deflect the negativity thrown at them. I'm proud to be a small part of their success, and proud to share my name publicly.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: Diamond Valley Resident

My name is Jim Dotzler. I live at 5412 E Sapphire Dr. I teach math part time at Yavapai College. I am not a firefighter. I am neither related to nor friends with anyone who is, was, or wants to be a firefighter. My home was rescued from wildfire on Saturday by firefighters from CYFD and PFD, as were the homes of several of my immediate neighbors. I am very grateful to them for their successful efforts.

And by the way, the entire time they were working to save our homes, I could hear them expressing serious concern that if they failed to contain the fire to the west side of that fireline that lots of people use as an ATV trail, the flames would have consumed much of the terrain up Glassford Hill including land near the car dealership and other nearby businesses. I also heard them express some concern that with the winds blowing as strongly as they were, they might even have carried the fire into the heart of PV itself.

Now you know who I am. Who are you? Are you connected to the "slate" of board members more interested in cutting taxes than having professionals decide what's best to secure our area?

Posted: Sunday, June 09, 2013
Article comment by: @ Diamond Valley Resident aka Firefighter

It's always obvious to see the comments by firefighters masquerading as John Q. "grateful" public. In this case, you saved my property therefore I wouldn't dare question how you spend my tax dollars...go forth and spend! How dare those new board members come in and try to find a smarter way to leverage the public's money! Let the firefighters say how it should be done, they know, they are heroes!! Get real people.

Posted: Saturday, June 08, 2013
Article comment by: Diamond Valley Resident

Speaking as someone whose family, neighbors, home, and neighborhood were protected just today (6/8/2013) by the CYFD from being devastated in a wildfire behind Sapphire Drive, I am seriously disinclined to care one whit about saving this "slate" of budget extremists a few pennies on their personal tax bills.

Let professional firefighters determine what the CYFD needs, not ideologues.

Posted: Saturday, June 08, 2013
Article comment by: Not on the inside.

@Tax Payer, And what would that be TOM, The people did not elect people to favor the elite, Rutherford and Horton are only on the board because they spent $10,000 for a position that pays NOTHING except in dues to the Elite...Think about it!! WE the people will vote them out next time. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!

Posted: Saturday, June 08, 2013
Article comment by: @ Tax Payer

If you elected them to make a real hard effort to not get along with anyone but themselves and some of the FSG Fan Club PV Town officials and make no efforts to try and work with staff and the other board members, then you definitely got exactly who you wanted.

@ Also a Tax Payer
Finally!! Someone on these blogs that has done their homework and doesn't run their mouths on rumors and non-fact based information!

Strong work, Mr. Rutherford. Go cry to the Town of PV acting as though you are representing the fire board when you planned this meeting and told absolutely nobody other than Horton. I would think the Board Chairman should have been in the loop?? Way to work together and throw so many people under the bus!

Posted: Saturday, June 08, 2013
Article comment by: Also a Tax Payer

Good job by the CYFD administrative staff to propose a few budgets that were all less than last year. I wouldn't have been opposed to the "option A", but "option B" seems pretty good. We will all be better protected by them staffing all the stations. I like this. My taxes are so much lower than they were about 4 years ago before they hired this new chief. Looks like the fat was trimmed out of the budget long before these new board members came along because the levy looks to be flat after it was consistently reduced before they were elected.

Posted: Saturday, June 08, 2013
Article comment by: Tax Payer

Thank you Mr. Rutherford and Ms. Horton. You are doing what we elected you to do!

Posted: Saturday, June 08, 2013
Article comment by: time for her to go

I just have to wonder if the property owners Councilwoman Patty Lasker met with are a representation of the majority or were they huge land owners.

I will be so happy to see Prison Patty leave office, since we learned she can not be believed or trusted to represent the majority.

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