Highland Rescue Team Election on May 5
Candidates for Board Membership
John Zima is a retired small business owner and has been a Genesee resident for the past fifteen years. John served as a volunteer at Highland Rescue Team for six years and was a Lieutenant for the last four years of his service. He has been on the board since his retirement from active duty. He is returning for his second and last term on the board to help ensure continued exemplary emergency medical response and care for the entire District. John is fiscally conservative and makes sure Highland Rescue Team keeps careful control of expenses while minimizing increases in the tax burden to the residents of the District.
I have been a district resident for 25 years and have watched Highland Rescue Team grow to become an indispensable asset to our community. I am a retired RN, having spent my entire 31 year career at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC). I worked in the University Hospital Newborn Intensive Care (NICU) for 15 years, the last five years as Nurse Manager. As such, I was responsible for budgeting, personnel management and development as well as patient safety and quality improvement. For 16 years I worked in UCHSC Professional Risk Management investigating patient care occurrences and malpractice claims, making recommendations for case disposition and developing preventative risk management strategies.
I retired in 2015 after 38 years in the market research industry and moved to Genesee with my wife and daughter. My professional career included 18 years at Kraft Foods in Chicago where my final job was Director of Marketing Information for the $2.5 billion dollar cheese division. I spent the next 20 years of my career with Directions Research, Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio. While working at DRI the company grew from 50 employees and $12 million in sales to 150 employees and 40 million in sales. As a partner in the firm my primary responsibility was sales and account leadership. Additional responsibilities included serving on the company finance committee and leading the team responsible for managing the $40 million dollar company 401k plan. I have served on the board of the Highland Rescue Team Foundation for the past two years working with the team on managing the Foundation’s investment portfolio.
After retiring and moving to Genesee in 2016 I was looking for an opportunity to become more involved in the community when the Highland Rescue Team Foundation board position became available. I have been extremely impressed with the organization and am looking forward to contributing to the team’s continued success.
Proposed Mill Rate Increase
We are your Emergency Medical Response Team when you need it!
Highland Rescue Team Ambulance District is your local emergency medical ambulance service. We proudly serve as the Emergency Medical Service provider for the communities of Genesee, Chimney Creek, Genesee Village, Lookout Mountain, Spring Ranch, Riva Chase, and Idledale. Additionally, we respond to calls on Interstate 70 from the Morrison exit (exit 259) to just beyond the Evergreen exit (exit 251).
Along with serving day-to-day homeowner medical needs, there is a significant recreational rescue component to our District. We are responsible for five different Open Space areas of Jefferson County and Denver Mountain Parks that offer hiking, mountain biking, and running trails.
Our mission at Highland is to provide the best patient care possible to anyone needing our help.
We are 50 people strong!
Highland Rescue has over 45 volunteers supported by 2.5 paid paramedics and a part-time administrator. These folks provide 24/7 medical coverage to our District. These dedicated members respond to every medical emergency 911 call that is made in our area.
To be able to respond quickly, our station is located at Highway 40 and Lookout Mountain Rd. Here we house our 3 advanced life support ambulances and 1 rescue vehicle. We also have a kitchen and living quarters to accommodate overnight staff (yes, to provide 24 hours/7 days a week service, most of our medical providers live at our station when on shift). This central location enables us to respond quickly to emergencies within our 33.5 square mile District.
Who pays for our service?
We are a government agency and are only able to provide this critical service with your support, the taxpayer. Our revenue is supplemented by patient insurance payments when we transport someone to the hospital.
We often receive donations from our residents to thank us for responding to their medical emergency.
Today, 2 mills are levied on your real estate property valuation. Here’s how that is determined by Jefferson County:
- A home in Jefferson County that is valued at $500,000, for example, currently pays $72 a year to support Highland Rescue: ($500,000 x .072) x .002 = $72.00.
We are asking our voters to consider approving a 1.5 mill levy increase. This increase, using the example above, would raise the tax by approximately $54 starting in 2021.
We have not requested a mill levy increase since the District was formed in 2005. In order to maintain our current level of responsiveness and medical expertise, we are now asking for an increase of 1.5 mills, bringing the total to 3.5 mills. With your support, we will be able to continue our 24/7 service as well as purchase and maintain the state-of-the-art medical equipment that our community expects.
There are several important justifications for this increase:
- Moving forward, we will need to engage a paid Chief to run our day-to-day operations. In the past, we’ve relied on volunteers to serve a 4-year term as Chief. The position of Chief requires a tremendous commitment of time and skill and as a result, we have seen a decline in volunteers who are willing to take on this huge responsibility. Hiring a full-time Chief is a necessary solution and will provide enhanced value to our organization.
- All of our neighboring response partners (Foothills Fire and Rescue, Evergreen Fire and Rescue, Genesee Fire Rescue) have moved to this management model and Highland Rescue is now requesting this additional level of support thereby keeping pace with the industry as well as ensuring long-term consistent management of our organization.
- While Highland Rescue will continue to rely largely on volunteers, additional funding provided by the mill rate increase ensures that quality training and education programs will be provided to our membership. With Baby Boomers comprising our primary demographic, training is extremely important because as these residents age, emergency medical needs become a greater certainty. It is imperative that Highland Rescue maintain the highest level of medical standards and support via continued levels of training and education to meet future needs.
- The need for emergency medical services has increased 40% over the last 10 years. In 2008, we responded to roughly 500 calls – in 2018 we responded to almost 700 calls. Not only is our call volume up, the cost of equipment (ambulances, radios, monitors, and medical supplies) required to do our job and meet government regulations has significantly increased since the formation of the district and the initial setting of the mill levy 15 years ago.
- Insurance payments for our services have decreased from 64% of charges to 44% in the past 10 years. Often private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid won’t approve the charges for the medical care that is provided to our patients during a 911 call. Our charges are industry appropriate for providing emergency medical care, but many reimbursements are denied nonetheless.
- Increasing our long-term capital reserves is necessary to ensure the provision of excellent service. We will need to refurbish and/or replace ambulances, communication radios, computers and other equipment over the next 10 years. The proposed mill rate increase will guarantee that we have the funds to meet those capital needs.