by Richard Uhlhorn
Potential Tax grab:
TIF – Tax Incremental Financing was a big topic at Chelan Fire & Rescue’s commission meeting on Wednesday, April 19.
If approved, the proposed TIF revenues would be used to pay back bond issues to construct a large reservoir and a water delivery system that would help the TIFs boundary’s with potential water needs. In addition, it would insure that new developers have water.
“We need to do our homework,” said Chief Brandon Asher. “We don’t know how successful it’s (TIFs) working.”
Commissioner Russ Jones replied that he’s been thinking non-stop about the potential issues with a TIF to the Fire District. He proposed drafting a letter to the City or State Treasurer and ask them to redo the (informational) meeting on TIFs.
“There was a lot of inaccurate information,” stated Jones. For instance, the City’s consultant used old tax rates for his presentation. “That there is no negative impact is absolutely not the case.”
Chief Asher said, “We are the only taxing district with an increase in services.”
Jone’s called the program a corporate welfare plan. “It’s pretty convoluted. It would become the City’s backup water supply.”
Chief Asher recognizes the need for additional water supply. Commissioner Karyl Oules said a letter needs to be written to the City regarding the district’s concerns. Jones replied that the information given at the TIF meeting on Wednesday, April 12 was not valid.
Chief Asher’s report:
Asher reported that the district’s budget is right on target.
The department responded to 77 calls, which were, with the exception of one call, all EMS related with 14 individuals transported with Advanced Life Support, 26 transported with Basic Life Support and 15 that didn’t require transport. To date (end of March) the department and EMS have responded to 153 calls.
“We are receiving more back to back calls,” stated Asher.
He thanked the City for helping the District with insurance. He also visited with Chief Arnold Baker – District 5 and said they had a positive conversation.
Asher stated that the new Emergency Reporting System will cost $8,200 per year. “It is a more efficient system.”
Asher reported that four seasonal firefighters have started. “They give us a lot more flexibility,” Asher said.
District employees have completed a Hazmat training program and have received $50,000 in new equipment.
It was reported that the City is working on an Emergency Response Plan.
The False Alarm program with the City is in place. Asher stated that a business is trying to fix their false alarm problem.
Assistant Chief report
Shaun Sherman said the department has three new members finishing the Fire Academy.
He also remarked that a 16 hour in depth large training exercise in auto extraction has been completed with five firefighters including one career firefighter taking part.
He also stated that live fire training would take place on Saturday, April 22. This training was conducted successfully as the department and other district’s took part in burning two old residential structures. Sherman said the Forest Service and DNR were on hand to contain any fire outside of the structure boundaries.