Letter: Change the fire board
After the failed mill levy election last fall, Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District Fire Chief Ron Leach stated “the community’s fire department is going to be devastated.”
The failed mill increase precipitated a 40 percent deficit of the department’s budget because of property value/tax decreases. About $1.2 million [was] cut for our paramedic ambulance, fire and rescue services, Initial Attack Wildfire teams, training programs and the well-developed all risk incident management Type III team of local responders.
I have served our community Fire District for 30 years in a wide variety of positions and responsibilities and for many different Fire District board members here, as has Chief Leach. For 32-plus years, Fire Chief Ron Leach has honorably led the way with foresights, leadership, education, program development and with a steady constant set of goals to improve the quality of essential emergency service for our families, businesses, ranchers, miners, visitors and backcountry adventurers. Chief Leach has, with a wonderful volunteer force, supported by a paid staff, provided us all a better quality of life.
Yeah, we are going through tough economic times since 2008.
Expectations of the Fire District Board by community were set by the currently seated department board members in their campaign platform promise of Oct. 2011, and I quote: “this two-year mill levy override buys us a little time to see what the economy is going to do, and make an appropriate master plan for the fire district that looks at both capital and operating needs and is responsible to the economy realities we face going forward.”
Without a promised master plan of economic balance and fiscally responsible explanations, the community members, owners of the department if you will, and voters said NO more money without your promises being kept.
In MY opinion this current department board of directors has got the fire chief’s back against the wall, which is forcing him and our community’s 60 years worth of investments to take critically severe actions to stay afloat.
I promote proactive board members, not reactive. Times are changing in the world and at home. It is time to change the directors of the CRFPD. New energy with fresh ideas.
Submitted with great regard.
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