Three candidates vie for two seats in Carbondale RFPD election | PostIndependent.com

Three candidates vie for two seats in Carbondale RFPD election

Nick Martin
Special to the Post Independent

Three candidates ” Lou Eller, Rob Goodwin and Carol Farris ” are running for two open seats on the Carbondale Rural Fire Protection District board in the May 4 election.

Present board member Kevin Keegan is not seeking re-election, and Eller is an incumbent.

The other board members are Gene Schilling, Mike Kennedy and Malcomb Smith.

Board terms are for four years, and board members meet monthly for the volunteer position.

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Following are interviews with the three candidates:

Name: Louis Eller

Age: 47

Occupation: Employee and stockholder of a geotechnical engineering company near Fire Station 4.

Previous elected offices: One term on the fire district board, director of Spring Valley Sanitation District since 1999, president of the board since 2003.

Volunteer projects: None listed.

Years in the community: 18

Family: wife, Suzanne, grown son and his family.

Why are you running for the board? As a director, it is my responsibility to see that the emergency needs of the residents and visitors of the district are met with the least possible cost to the taxpayers. The best way to reduce the cost is to provide this service with a volunteer force supported by a paid staff.

What makes you qualified to serve? My business experience, combined with my knowledge of the operation of special districts. I assisted the sanitation district in the expansion and construction of a $5 million wastewater treatment plant.

What are the three most important issues facing the fire district?

– The increase in call volume and growth in our area is the largest issue. I have watched the call volume increase from 350 per year to 850 as the population has grown. There are about 3,000 home sites platted and undeveloped in the district at this time. Most of this development will occur near Station 4 in the Westbank area.

What would your goals be for the fire district? My goals are to maintain this volunteer force by providing the funding, training and facilities needed to meet the demands on service, while protecting the health and safety of each volunteer and staff member, achieve a paramedic-level ambulance service and reduce response time in the outlying areas.

Name: Robert Goodwin

Age: 43

Occupation: Real estate broker

Previous elected offices: None

Volunteer projects: Church at Carbondale Building Committee Chair, 9 Health Fair volunteer.

Years in the community: 27

Family: Wife, Theresa, three sons and two daughters.

Why are you running for the board? In December 2003 I retired as deputy chief from the Carbondale Fire District, after 12 years in that position. I still want to serve the community through the fire district.

What makes you qualified to serve? I spent 17 years as a volunteer and later was deputy chief. I was part of the planning and implementation of the bond issue in 1992, which saw two new stations built, three expanded and 10 pieces of apparatus purchased. I also worked on lowering the district’s ISO (Insurance Services Office) rating from a 7/9 to a 5 in all areas. The reduction saved virtually everyone in the district money on their fire insurance. I also have extensive experience with budgets and fiscal responsibility.

What are the three most important issues facing the fire district?

– Securing the future of the fire district through the upcoming bond election and mill levy vote.

– Lowering the ISO rating of the district from a 5 to a 4 or lower.

– Ensuring that every member of the fire district has the best, latest training and equipment possible. The thing that enables you to make good decisions is great training. The thing that enables you to carry out the decision is excellent equipment. No one wants the fire district to skimp on those things.

What would your goals be for the fire district? Continue the good work of the present board in securing the financial future of the district, establish clear policy and direction to the chief and staff, and promote the excellent relationship the district has with the communities that it serves.

Name: Carol Farris

Age: 38

Occupation: CEO of the Farris household, Co-owner Timberwolf Industries, community volunteer

Previous elected offices: Carbondale Community Chamber of Commerce, Parks and Recreation Commission, Planning and Zoning Commission.

Volunteer projects: Fourth of July Fireworks fund, classroom volunteer, Easter Egg Hunt, plant flowers at the Carbondale Pool.

Years in the community: 8 (16 in Aspen)

Family: Husband, Brian Farris, two sons and twin daughters.

Why are you running for the board? I have been married to a volunteer firefighter for 15 years. For me, serving on boards is rewarding and exciting.

What makes you qualified to serve? I have seven consecutive years of serving on local boards as a participating member and as chairman. I have experience in budgeting, seeing an idea become a reality by hiring design teams, finding funding, getting voter approvals, and implementing planned projects.

I also bring a unique perspective as a spouse of a volunteer. I know what it takes to pop out of bed at 3 a.m. to respond to an emergency.

What are the three most important issues facing the fire district?

– It is crucial for the fire department to maintain the volunteer core. I firmly believe in the heart of the volunteer.

– Upon approval of the fire tax and bond questions, the fire department can implement its newly adopted master plan.

– Dealing with the emergency medical service side of the department. With the amount of training involved and state and federal requirements it is becoming increasingly more difficult to fill the shifts to cover the volunteer ambulance crews. I see a need in the near future to hire a paid ambulance staff to be on call with the volunteers.

What would your goals be for the fire district? For them to continue to do exactly what they are doing. I am extremely impressed with the dedication and professionalism in every corner of the organization.


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