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Cariboo Regional District Seeking to Replace Three Fire Engines

The Cariboo Regional District is holding alternative approval processes to replace fire engines for the Kersley, Lone Butte, and Forest Grove volunteer fire departments.

Vice Chair and Area C Director John Massier says because of the longer nature of the borrowing for the trucks (ten-year debt financing rather than five-year financing) they need to go either to a referendum or an alternative approval process.

“The cost of a running referendum for each fire truck is fairly significant,” he said.

“We did run one referendum last year for the Interlakes and it was approved by a 98 percent vote so we felt pretty comfortable with going with the alternative approval process, and that’s where we ask taxpayers in a specific area if they’re in favor or against that.”

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Massier said if taxpayers are in favor of it they don’t have to do anything, and if they’re against it then they need to fill out the form that’s available online and send it into the CRD to let them know that they’re against the proposal.

“If we get ten percent of the taxpayers against it, then we will go to a full referendum.”

The Cariboo Regional District is planning for fourteen fire truck replacements before 2023.

“We have a number of volunteer fire departments and the trucks only have a limited life span. For insurance requirements no matter how much use they have on them, they need to be replaced,” Massier said.

“It just seems to be that we’ve got a lot of them coming up in this five-year block.”

Background Facts by the Cariboo Regional District:
  • Each engine/pumper truck will cost about $400,000.
  • The 10-year financing model is keeping taxes from increasing as much as they would under 5-year financing for all the fire protection areas.
  • The Kersley VFD has $150,000 available in capital reserves to contribute towards the purchase so the CRD will only be borrowing the remaining $250,000 required.
  • Under the 10-year financing model:
    • The Kersley Fire Protection Area is seeing inflationary tax increases only over the next 5-year financial plan (2019-2023) with a 2.5% tax increase each year. If the fire truck was purchased with 5-year financing, there would need to be a 15% tax increase in 2019.
    • The Lone Butte Fire Protection Area is seeing inflationary tax increases only in the next 5-year financial plan (2019-2023) with a 2.5% increase each year. If the fire truck was purchased with 5-year financing, there would need to be a 20% tax increase in 2019.
    • The Forest Grove Fire Protection Area is seeing an 8% tax increase in 2019 and 2.5% tax increases in the remainder of the financial plan (2020-2023). If the fire truck was purchased with 5-year financing, there would need to be a 26% tax increase in 2019.
  • For an AAP, elector responses must be submitted on the official Elector Response Form. This form, or an accurate copy of it, is the only form that will be accepted. Forms are available from the CRD offices during business hours or can be downloaded at cariboord.ca/firedepartments.
  • In 2017, the CRD decided to standardize the trucks used by the volunteer fire departments for the next 15 years. After working with all the VFDs, a specific engine and water tender were chosen as the standard for all upcoming truck replacements. Within that standardization, each VFD works with CRD staff to ensure the truck fits the department’s needs.
  • Depending on how these three assent processes go, the CRD expects to hold alternative approval processes for Deka Lake, 150 Mile House, and Barlow Creek fire protection areas later this year.
  • An alternative approval process saves the fire protection area’s taxpayers $4,000 or more, compared to a full referendum.
  • The following chart outlines the CRD volunteer fire departments requiring truck replacements in the next five years.
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