Idyllwild Fire ready to approve 2014-15 budget: Meeting time and day changes in October

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During the business portion of the Idyllwild Fire Protection District meeting last week, the commission received the proposed fiscal year 2014-15 budget from its Finance Committee.

Chair Commissioner Nancy Layton discussed the proposed budget and only Commissioner Rhonda Andrewson asked questions.

Andrewson recommended increasing the funding for firefighters’ protective clothing. She also questioned whether there was adequate funding for the dispatch contract since that includes billing for operation and maintenance of the mobile dispatch computers and equipment.

Commission President Jerry Buchanan replied that while the cost for the mobile dispatch computers was part of the dispatch billing, it was still fluid and would be reassessed during the mid-year review.

The commission also discussed its policy 4048 — legal counsel and auditor. Buchanan stressed that individual commissioners should not independently call the counsel and request a legal opinion. These requests should be coordinated with the fire chief and at least two people from IFPD should participate in the conversation. This eliminates the possibility of multiple and different interpretations of counsel’s advice.

However, after discussion and objection from Andrewson, he agreed that commissioners should handle any issues or questions involving the department’s fire chief directly.

In non-financial business, the commission decided to change its meeting date to 1 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month from the evening of the second Tuesday.

Buchanan expressed some frustration with long meetings ending after 9 p.m. and thought the commission would be more alert if they were held in the afternoon.

Commissioner Nancy Layton commented, “From the Finance Committee meetings, which are in the afternoon, it’s a boon to a fresher mind.” She made the motion for the new date and time.

IFPD’s Oct. 28 meeting will be the first at the new date and time. The commission has already posted notices that the final 2014-15 budget would be reviewed and approved at its Sept. 9 meeting.

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