MESA COUNTY, Colo. Under Obamacare, businesses with fifty or more full-time staff have to offer health care to employees, and many volunteer fire departments used to fall under that category.
But now the IRS and Treasury Department have changed their classification, a big relief for many of our local fire departments.
"The costs were going to be astronomical to where we couldn't continue having volunteers," says Lower Valley Fire District Chief, Frank Cavaliere. "With that also we cant afford to have a full-time career fire department so we're caught between a rock and a hard place at that point."
Lower Valley Fire is 80% volunteer firefighters and sees an average of five to six calls a day; a set-up not uncommon to other stations around the Western Slope and elsewhere in Colorado.
Lawmakers like Senator Michael Bennett and emergency responders called the change 'common sense.'