Guest opinion: Carbondale fire district seeks public input |

Guest opinion: Carbondale fire district seeks public input

We are happy to let you know that the Carbondale Fire District Master Plan process is under way, and we want to invite you to attend a neighborhood outreach meeting. We will be holding a number of meetings in the next seven weeks. Meetings already have been held in Marble and Redstone.

We will be following those two meetings up with three neighborhood meetings in Carbondale on April 13, 15 and 21. These three meetings will be held at the Third Street Center and will begin at 7 p.m. A full listing of these neighborhood meetings is being advertised in various newspapers, on our website ( and on Facebook.

We, the board of directors, welcome your input and want to hear what you think about the Fire Department, the services we provide and how we can improve those services. Most important, we want to hear what level of service you want us to provide in the coming years. While we will have our consultants present to facilitate these meetings, we will also have at least one board and staff member in attendance to answer questions that you may have.

In the early summer, we will also be hosting five town hall style meetings to go over input that we have obtained from the citizens as well as sharing the results of other information we will find out during the master plan process.

There are many other tasks involved in the master plan besides the neighborhood meetings. FootSteps Marketing will be enhancing the district website and Facebook platforms and start helping us communicate more efficiently with you. We will be sending out a survey that we hope you will participate in. A consulting group from Florida, Almont Associates, will be here in late April and will be analyzing from a technical perspective how the district performs its duties, analyzing staffing levels and service delivery alternatives, capital replacement programs and whether the department is meeting all relevant national fire and safety standards in an efficient manner.

We will also be examining district finances, taking into consideration what changes are desired by the citizens or suggested by consultants, and what sources of financing (if desired) may be needed.

A master plan is not just about technical studies and what standards are being met or not met. It is also about what people want in terms of services, the staffing level they would like to see, what they want to pay for, what they like and what they don’t like about the department.

This is about you and what you want to see from us in the coming years.

We forward to seeing and hearing from you at our neighborhood meetings.

Gene Schilling is president of the board of directors of the Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District.

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