Which is it?

In the run-up to the South Metro Fire Rescue inclusion election this November, the City of Littleton has been putting out conflicting information about the cost of the inclusion.

The City has been putting out a card showing what it claims will happen if the inclusion vote wins and what will happen if the inclusion vote fails.

The City’s “facts” about the inclusion election

Notice the statement in red on the upper right side of the City’s card, shown above: “City of Littleton will need to pay South Metro for fire service using General Fund reserves.”

The problem is, that statement doesn’t match the information being put out by the City’s finance department. Notice in the chart below revenue exceeds expenses every year. The expenses in the chart include the cost of running Littleton’s fire department.

From the City’s September 2018 finance report.

Add in the fact that the City claims contracting with South Metro Fire Rescue cost less than what the City spends to run its own fire department, and it is clear that if the inclusion election fails the City will not have to spend down General Fund reserves to pay for fire service.

The chart below, produced by the City’s finance department, shows the actual and projected cost to the City of contracting with South Metro Fire Rescue, verses the cost of operating the City’s fire department. The red line, which shows the cost of operating Littleton’s fire department is always above the dark brown line showing the cost of contracting with South Metro Fire Rescue. The costs are shown as the amount of property tax mills it would take to fund the cost.

From the City of Littleton’s finance department.

The City Council may chose to spend down reserves for other purposes, but continuing to fund fire out of the General Fund will not be the cause of any decrease in reserves.