- What is a fire protection district?
A special district, such as the Elk Creek Fire Protection District, is a quasi-municipal corporation and political subdivision of the State of Colorado formed to provide necessary public services that the county or municipality cannot otherwise provide. It is essentially a tax-exempt financing mechanism used for the installation, operation and maintenance of public infrastructure.
2016 Colorado Revised Statutes Title 32 - Special Districts
Special District Act
Article 1 - Special District Provisions
Part 10- General Powers
32-1-1002. Fire protection districts - additional powers and duties
2017 Colorado Revised Statues
Title 31 - Government - Municipal Powers and Functions of Cities and Towns
Article 30 - Fire - Police - Sanitation
Part 11 - Volunteer Firefighter Pension Act
31-30-1105. Board - fire protection district
- How is a special district governed?
A special district is governed by a five or seven member Board of Directors, who are elected by the registered electors within the district to staggered terms. Anyone who is registered to vote in the State of Colorado and resides within the special district or who owns taxable property within the boundaries of the special district is eligible to serve on the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors may hire a manager, employees or consultants to carry out the purposes of the special district and to ensure compliance with all statutory requirements for the special district’s operations.
- How does a special district function after organization?
A special district is a quasi-municipal corporation and political subdivision of the State of Colorado and must comply with the open meeting laws, public bidding requirements, any restrictions in its Service Plan, public budget law and public audit requirements. Typically, the Boards of Directors of a special district meet on a regular basis to handle the business of the District. Many special districts engage a professional management company, general counsel and an accountant experienced with governmental accounting to assist and advise in the District’s functions.
- How does a special district pay for its capital needs and general operating costs?
A special district is authorized to utilize a number of ways to raise revenues, including issuing debt, levying taxes, and imposing fees and charges. The issuance of debt or an increase in taxes first requires an election and approval by the qualified voters of the district, as required by TABOR (Section 20, Article 10 of the Colorado Constitution).
Methods of raising revenue include:
- General Obligation Bonds
- Revenue Bonds
- Mill Levy
- Service Charges and Fees
- Grants and Loans
- What limitations exist with respect to a special district’s ability to raise fees and taxes?
A special district’s fees and taxes are set by its Board of Directors, subject to the limitations imposed by TABOR, Colorado statutes, and the special district’s electors through the election process. In addition, limitations may be placed upon the special district’s debt issuance or its mill levy by its Service Plan and/or required by the governing jurisdiction during the Service Plan approval process.
- What are the benefits of a special district?
- A special district can raise funds for public infrastructure through municipal bonds (or other governmental grant or loan programs if applicable) with favorable rates and terms not available to private entities.
- Special districts are exempt from sales, use and other taxes for equipment, supplies and services allowing lower overhead costs.
- A special district is not in the business of making a profit from the facilities and services provided. Specific statutes govern the expenditures and revenues of special districts.
- State-obligated budget, audit and other financial filing and reporting requirements provide regulatory oversight of a special district’s operations.
- A special district is governed by local control over the services that are provided on a community basis. The special district is responsive and accountable for decisions through the election and public hearing processes. The business of the special district is conducted at public meetings.
- Special districts enjoy governmental immunity against certain legal actions thus avoiding expensive lawsuits and corresponding tax or fee increases.
- Because of its local nature, a special district is often better able to address issues of local concern to the community than could a larger county or municipality.
District Specific Questions
- When was Elk Creek Fire Protection District formed?
It was formed in 1948 as Elk Creek Fire Department, eventually becoming Elk Creek Fire Protection District. It began as an all-volunteer district, transitioning to a combination district later with the hiring of its first career Fire Chief.
- What is a combination district?
It is a district that is comprised of both paid staff/employees, and volunteers. ECFPD is staffed with 55 career, volunteer, and seasonal personnel.
- How big is the district?
ECFPD is comprised of approximately 98 square miles in western Jefferson and eastern Park Counties, serving an estimated 17,000 residents.
- How many stations does ECFPD have?
ECFPD responds from 4 stations: Station 1 at Richmond Hill in Conifer, Station 2 on Mt Evans Blvd in Pine Junction, Station 3 in Kings Valley, and Station 4 in Aspen Park. Only Station 1 is staffed full-time.
- How many calls does ECFPD respond to each year?
ECFPD responds to over 1,325 calls per year with 55% of those medical, 3% fire-related, 4% hazardous conditions (non-fire), and 38% assistance/alarms/goodwill calls.
- What services does ECFPD provide?
The district provides traditional structural and woodland fire suppression, some levels of technical rescue, hazardous materials response, medical first-response, and Advanced Life Support (ALS) emergency medical transport. In addition, ECFPD conducts fire inspections, code enforcement, plan reviews, fire and arson investigations, and public education/prevention programs.
- What does ECFPD NOT do?
ECFPD does not approve or disapprove proposed developments within the district. There is a defined process through which a proposed development goes as set by Jeffco Planning & Zoning culminating in a presentation before the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners who vote to approve or disapprove following a recommendation by the Planning & Zoning Commission.
ECFPD does not rescue cats from trees. We wish we could; however, a ladder truck is not one of our apparatus. We recommend placing their bedding and food outside and enticing them to come down.
- What is ECFPD’s ISO rating?
ECFPD has a current Insurance Services Office (ISO) Public Protection Classification rating of 5/10.
- What is the role of Elk Creek Fire Protection District (ECFPD)?
It is the role of the Elk Creek Fire Protection District (ECFPD) to: provide citizen stakeholders within its boundaries a set of services that protect against residential, commercial, and industrial structure as well as wildland fires; provide timely emergency medical services (EMS); adopt fire protection codes, EMS standards, and operational procedures that are designed to protect public welfare; and perform a suite of community-level fire hazard risk assessments that are necessary to create, publish, and disseminate a district-wide Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP). It is also the role of ECFPD to review, inspect, and evaluate plans for proposed developments with respect to the current, adopted fire codes. In an effort to significantly reduce the risk of wildfires within the district, ECFPD also provides on-site wildland fire mitigation assessments as a service to owners of residential, commercial, and industrial properties designed to offer a number of actionable risk mitigation and fire safety improvement recommendations.
- What are the strategies of Elk Creek Fire Protection District (ECFPD)?
In order to accomplish its critical mission, ECFPD has developed strategies designed to: engage, hire, train, and develop high-caliber, experienced career and volunteer personnel; develop community-based programs that will reduce the fire hazard risks within the fire district neighborhoods; and gain sustained support from the community for these fire hazard risk reduction programs through constructive engagement with community members where they live, work, and play.
- Does ECFPD have any general obligation bonds or revenue bonds?
- What is Elk Creek Fire Protection District’s current mill levy?
The current mill levy is 12.523. A small portion of this mill levy is set to sunset (e.g. expire) November 2023.
- What service charges and/or fees does ECFPD impose/collect?
Building inspection by Fire Marshall
Home Assessment* (*not required to have conducted by homeowners, fee covers cost to conduct.)
Address signs* (available if desired by homeowner, fee covers cost to manufacture)
- How do I know if I reside in ECFPD’s district?
If you look on your property tax statement from the County Assessor, any special districts in which you reside will be listed along with the amount of taxes you are responsible for paying. If you are unsure, you can contact us or your county assessor’s office.
- How can I volunteer for the district as an EMT/Paramedic or Firefighter?
Our volunteers are critical to the success of our district and we are incredibly grateful for your interest. Please fill out this volunteer interest form and a member of our staff will be in touch within 3 days.
- When is the next election for the Board of Directors?
May 2, 2025Learn more.
- How do I learn more about Consolidation?
Elk Creek Fire Protection District, Inter-Canyon Fire Protection District, and North Fork Fire Protection District are exploring the opportunity to consolidate our three districts into one. In 2021, an outside agency was hired to conduct a study on the districts and the pros and cons to consolidation. You are welcome to read the Collaborative Services Feasibility Study and contact the Chief with any questions you may have, or to attend any public Board of Directors meeting held the second Thursday of each month starting at 6:00pm and ask questions during the Citizen Comment portion of the meeting.
- What is a Home Assessment for wildfire preparedness and how do I request one?
The Wildfire Prepared Home Assessment is a professional evaluation of the exterior of your home and surrounding property to determine susceptibility to wildfire, and to provide actions to make your home more defensible. It is available to any district resident, but due to the specialized service provided, there is a $100 charge for the home assessment. Please go to our Home Assessment Page to learn more or register to receive one. Thank you for requesting to learn more about doing home hardening and defensible space to reduce your family’s and community’s risk of wildfire!
- What is the Chipping Program and how do I sign up?
The Community Chipping Program is offered to all residents of Inter-Canyon, Elk Creek, and North Fork Fire Protection Districts free of charge. Our Fuels Crew will come to your neighborhood and chip the piles of slash you have stacked at the edge of the road and either broadcast the chips back onto your property, or haul them away as you request. The program is operated each year from June through October with reservations opening in the spring and being taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Slots are filled quickly, please be sure to carefully fill out the required fields in the application; only submit one request per household. Watch our social media accounts, or our Chipping Page, for an announcement of the program opening up applications, and for details on how to prepare the slash for chipping.
- I have some slash I’d like to burn, how do I get a permit?
Jeffco residents, please read and fill out Jeffco Public Health’s Open Burning Permit Application.
- How can I get an address sign for my driveway entrance?
We’re glad you asked. Our reflective driveway signs help us find you more quickly and easily when we are responding to your emergency. You may purchase one at Station 1 during business hours Monday through Friday. The cost is $10.00.
- I can’t volunteer, how else can I support ECFPD?
Thank you for asking! There are many ways to help support our mission, and your community. We have a few Community Ambassador spots to fill; please check the map for the Planning Units still missing an Ambassador and contact us if you live in one of those areas and would like to learn more. We participate in the King Soopers Rewards Program, join our Support Team, or donate. Your generosity touches our hearts and we appreciate you!