Local News

Fire District Seeks Funds To Preserve Public Safety

January 15, 2013

The Tusayan Fire District is running out of time and money. Faced with decreasing property values, vanishing grants, and an increased workload, the District is seeking help from Tusayan Town Hall. It’s asking for $150,000, a fraction of what the town has spent on consultants and studies related to the Stilo land use plan.  At its January 8 meeting, the Town Council received the details it had sought on the Fire District’s plight; however no decision or commitment was made.

Councilman John Reuter had suggested that the Fire District raise extra cash by annexing Valle. However Fire District Board Member John Vail says that would only raise $59,000 a year and the costs of providing full service to that area would exceed 59 grand.

Vail submitted a letter to the council which reads in part:

“Last year TFD responded to over 500 calls with only 3 paid personnel.  As a comparison, Highland Fire District ran approximately 500 calls with 21 paid personnel.  TFD protects 1048 hotel rooms and a community of approximately 500 permanent residences and around 3000 overnight visitors.  TFD also protects approximately 11,000 daily travelers on Highway 64 traveling to the Grand Canyon.”

The district has also hit a roadblock for taxing. Vail says while most property owners he has spoken to would be willing to pay a higher rate, the Fire District is already at the 3.5% maximum.

Councilman Reuter still believes additional funds can be made in Valle. Mayor Bryan is concerned about this temporary request becoming permanent. Councilman Craig Sanderson suggested more belt-tightening.

The only councilmember to voice total support for the Fire District is Bill Fitzgerald. He told the council, “I can’t think of anything, any single act this town can do to help the people of Tusayan, then to help fund you (the Fire District) with a few more people.”  Fitzgerald added, “Outside of the park, we really haven’t done big projects for the public that the public can see.”