By now, many property owners in the area have received an information letter from Pinal County Special Districts explaining that Pinal Rural Fire & Rescue (PRF&R) is in the process of transitioning from a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Fire Rescue service to a Special Tax District Fire District as permitted under ARS 48-261. People may be asking: why is this being done, and what are the advantages for me? This letter will attempt to answer those questions.
PRF&R is the ONLY 24/7 Fire-Based Paramedic Service between Golder Ranch and Globe. Currently, PRF&R is a subscription service. ALL services are free to subscribers; non-subscribers are never charged for Emergency Medical Service (EMS) responses. EMS makes up, on average, 75% of a fire department’s responses; therefore, it constitutes a large share of PRF&R’s services.
The proposed change will create a designated Fire District in an area where there has not been one in the past. It will no longer be a subscription service; instead, all property owners in the district will contribute via property taxes to support the service. There are many benefits of doing so:
• It will provide dedicated service by a permanent fire district that fills in the gap between Mammoth and Dudleyville.
• It will provide a staff of nationally certified first response fire and medical personnel, and will greatly reduce emergency response times in the proposed district.
• Predictable funding will allow for improved capital planning and assure reliability and quality of services in the future. It will allow PRF&R to hire certified shift firefighters and to pay stipends for local volunteer staffing.
• Financial support is fairly distributed across all property owners.
• For those concerned about tax increases, most people will see little difference between the tax assessed and current subscription fees. Additionally, the formation of a fire district often has a positive impact on fire insurance. It makes it easier for those who have been unable to purchase fire insurance and also those who are paying very high rates.
Board Members will be elected by fire district residents, ensuring responsiveness to citizens’ needs.
A hearing before the Pinal County Board of Supervisors is scheduled on August 6 at 9:30 a.m. at the Pinal County Courthouse in Florence. As the organizing Chairman of the Board of Directors of PRF&R, I look forward to working with each of you in the creation of this new fire district.
/s/ Rear Admiral Steve Turcotte