Matt Kramer — Candidate for the Arvada Fire Protection District Board
1. Why are you running for the fire board?
I am interested in re-election to the Arvada Fire Protection District Board to help complete and continue the initiatives we have began over the last four years, as well as to keep moving the District forward in a fiscally responsible way, to ensure the best fire/rescue service is provided to the citizens of the District
2. What skills do you bring that will help you govern the Arvada Fire District effectively?
I have been a Board Director for the past four years, and have been the Treasurer for the last two years. I am a retired Arvada volunteer firefighter with 18 years of service. My firefighting career has spanned positions from firefighter, to nine years as Assistant Chief, including several years as Training Chief.
3. What are the biggest challenges you see facing the Arvada Fire District?
Growth in the northwest part of the district. There simply is not enough revenue generated by that area during the early stages to fund the addition of a station when needed. The district is working very diligently with the developer to seek ways to close the gap between revenue and costs for service in the area.
4. How does the configuration of Ralston Road impact the level of service that the Arvada Fire District can provide?
The code that the City adopted has restrictions on width and access for emergency services and the Fire District has always worked with the City to make sure that our concerns are considered before the final design is adopted. We do not anticipate any access problems or any negative impact on the level of service we provide.
5. Do you think that the benefits to the community out weighs the costs of having our own ambulance service.
If so please explain the trade-off between the added cost and new services being provided.
If not how will you approach liquidating the Ambulances that were purchased and reducing the Arvada Fire District staff?
There is no added cost. The cost that our citizens are paying is the same as when Rural Metro provided the service. In fact, the service is functioning in the black and the amount that is received above the costs will go to reimburse the reserve fund for costs associated with the start of the service.
Another benefit is that the profits go back to provision of services in Arvada. In other words, we added 8 firefighters per shift at no cost to our citizens. Rural Metro, who purchased Pridemark a few years ago, is headquartered in Arizona. That is where the profits went when they provided the service.
Also we now have all paramedics under the same advising physician and training program. This was not the case before. This now means that the crews integrate in training and all daily activities which provides a more seamless provision of care on emergencies.
The Fire District also gives benefits that Rural Metro did not. For example, if we treat and release patients without transport, there is no cost. In the past Rural Metro charged for this.
6. Did you support the last ballot measure that would have removed term limits for Arvada Fire Board Members?
Yes I did. For the prior two District election cycles we did not have to have an election because we only had the exact number of candidates running that there were open positions for. It seemed as though there was not much interest in being on the Arvada Fire Protection District Board. The two Directors that are term limited this year, and are having to step down, are great persons and have served the Fire District and the Community with all they have, and I felt if others did not have interest in running for the Fire Board, then it would be good to allow these two men to run again and continue serving the Community in the job that they love. In hindsight, this was unnecessary, as this election cycle we have 10 persons running for 3 open positions, which I think is great, because it shows that we do have interest in being on the Arvada Fire District Board.
7. Did you support the 55% mill-levy increase in 2010?
Yes I did. At the time, and with the reduced revenue we were receiving from property taxes, if we had not increased the mill-levy, we would have had to reduce staff and shut down fire stations. This was not a threat, it was a reality. Also, before the mill-levy increase, we were only able to staff each fire truck with three firefighters, which was below what National Fire Guidelines require, which is four firefighters per fire truck. Having only three firefighters per fire truck, was a safety issue, not only for the firefighters responding to the incident, but for the citizens we were trying to serve/rescue. I want to maintain the current mill-levy and ensure adequate budget reserves so we do not have to approach the citizens for a higher mill-levy for many, many years, if ever.