Local News

Tusayan's Fire District Stands Tall Despite A Tight Budget

August 8, 2012

The Tusayan Fire Department is sorting out shrinking budgets and an increasing workload. When the Town annexed thousands of Forest Service acres and the Ten-X property, there was no provision to add that land into the Tusayan Fire District. At an August Town Council meeting, Fire Chief Robbie Evans inquired about forming an Intergovernmental Agreement with the Town to cover the acreage, not to mention all of the service calls in Town. He has also reached out to Stilo, and so far there has been no response

In 2011, there were 255 medical calls in Tusayan. 35, multi-vehicle accident calls and 10 fire calls.  The Fire District also inspects hydrants, they have put up street signs, and assisted the federal government in forest thinning efforts. It’s a huge workload for a Fire District that is overwhelmingly staffed by volunteers.

These volunteers do more than just handle public safety. It’s a common sight to see them helping stranded motorists or rescuing pets.

Evans would like to see the Town form a committee to work with the Fire District and perhaps offer some financial assistance. He feels some up-front money may be needed to stay ahead of the curve should the Stilo development move forward. Of 5637 acresof land the council annexed only 355 acres are taxable.

There will be expenses that come with additional development. More vehicle traffic, construction concerns, more people and more medical calls. And even though the Fire District’s workload could explode, there is no mechanism in place to fund all of that extra service. In fact Evans says some of the funding is drying up because grants are expiring. And because assessed valuation has declined in tough economic times, his revenue base is also shrinking.

Council members listened patiently to Evans concerns but could not make any promises to help.

Evans has been Chief since 1999.  Since then there have been more than 3,500 calls for service. As Evans sounds the alert for more resources, will the Town or Stilo answer that bell?