The Boulder Rural Fire Rescue “merger” (Part One)

UPDATE 2 (18-Dec-2017): The discussions aren’t dead, just suspended. Article in the Daily Camera.

UPDATE (21-Nov-2017): On, BRFR Administrative Assistant Sarah Normandin says: “At the November 15th Special Board Meeting the Boulder Rural Fire Rescue Board of Directors took the following action: A motion was made to suspend discussions with the City of Boulder for a Contract for Services. It was seconded, discussion took place, and the motion passed.” So, maybe this idea is dead? I’ll post more when I get more.

This is a follow-on to Part Zero. Now “merger” is in quotes, because it’s not actually a merger, despite what the Gunbarrel Green HOA referred to it as in a recent communication.

While BRFR Board minutes after 26-June-2017 aren’t on their website, there are minutes of three meetings between BRFR and BRF (Boulder Fire Rescue) on a different page.

What I gather is that, instead of providing services themselves, BRFR is considering contracting with BFR to provide the services. They then wouldn’t need any fire equipment or people. The permanent employees would apply to BFR for jobs, which some of them might get. (Maybe most or all.) I don’t think that BFR has volunteer firefighters; if I’ve got that wrong, I’ll post a correction. I guess the equipment goes to BFR, and the fairly-new fire house gets occupied by BFR under some sort of financial arrangement.

Right now, unincorporated Gunbarrel pays BRFR through property taxes. In the new arrangement, BRFR would still exist, so I assume our taxes still go to them, and they pay BFR.

An obvious question is what the purpose of BRFR becomes once BFR provides all the services. Maybe to look out for the interests of their district? If so, that’s sounds like a worthy purpose to me.

In Part Zero I questioned why the Gunbarrel Green HOA was saying that this “merger” would “open the door” to annexation. Annexation would be enabled by us being surrounded (see my post on that), and at most the fact that BFR is providing services would help Boulder persuade people that annexation was not so disruptive. But, legally, the BRFR-BFR relationship would have no impact at all.

My opinion is that the BRFR Board and management know what they’re doing, have never let us down before, and if this is what they think should be done to provide the service level we need, then I’m with them. It’s too bad that some firefighters might lose their jobs. But, if BRFR hits financial hard times, some of them would lose their jobs anyway. I’m sure the volunteers will be very upset, but that’s unavoidable.

I think the people in Gunbarrel who are against this think that way because they don’t trust the City and/or they see this as yet one more step towards submerging Gunbarrel into the City. Valid concerns. But, running our own small operation is expensive, and fire/rescue services here are really no different from any other place in flatland Boulder County. Maybe if we were a mountain area it would be a different story.

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