In a place where signs warning of the potential for fire swing from “mild” to “very high,” the state’s Emergency Fire Fund is a resource for providing firefighting funds.
Teller is one of 42 counties that contribute $1 million a year to the fund to offset costs when the state pays to fight fires. “This year there were no EFF state-responsibility fires in Colorado,” said Teller County Commissioner Marc Dettenrieder, speaking at the commissioners’ meeting this month. “That money will carry over to 2020.”
However, in 2018, the state spent $40 million fighting 18 fires which included the High Chateau Fire in southern Teller County, he added.
The EFF has been in existence for 50 years during which the state funded the costs of battling 163 fires. “Eighty-five percent of those fires have been in the last 20 years,” Dettenrieder said. “Fires are increasing in the state; they’re costing more and they are larger fires.”
As a result, a state fire commission has been established to look at ways to fund the costs of fighting larger fires. “We’re hoping they come up with a good solution on that,” Dettenrieder said.
In other news, county treasurer Mark Czelusta reported that the auction sales this month of 456 tax liens valued at $182,906 yielded $209,987 in revenue for the county. “Teller County is considered a good and solid investment by the investment community,” Czelusta said.
In his report, Sheriff Jason Mikesell lauded the Sheriff’s Posse, a volunteer organization that contributed 5,729 hours of service throughout the county last year.
Mikesell also paid tribute to Carol and Darryl Marcus for their donations to updating a shooting range used for training. The couple’s son, Teller County Sgt. Jake Marcus, presented flowers to his parents. His sister, Michelle, works for the sheriff’s office as a dispatcher.
On another note, Mikesell reported that the days inmates were incarcerated for gambling infractions increased this year. “We’re having more crimes that are occurring due to gambling,” he said.
The increase in gambling crimes is most likely due to the 24-hour-a-day gambling in Cripple Creek, Mikesell said. “The jail is not overcrowded; we’re actually below levels,” he added.
Also, the commissioners approved a request by PK Enterprises Inc. to build a 501-unit storage facility in Florissant. The approval included rezoning 2.62 acres at 32 Circle Drive from Commercial to Commercial Overlay Zone.