Parcel measure on November ballot: Chief earns pay raise

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At the Idyllwild Fire Protection District’s commission meeting last week, Fire Chief Patrick Reitz said the Riverside County Registrar of Voters has accepted the IWD’s proposed parcel fee increase. It will be included on the November presidential election ballot as Measure W.

Commissioner Nancy Layton, chair of the Education and Dissemination Committee, reported that a flier explaining the purpose of the measure and how the funds will be used is being prepared.

Also, the commission is planning at least one community meeting, possibly more, for voters to ask questions and gain knowledge about IFPD’s needs, she said.

In the absence of President Jerry Buchanan and Commissioner Jeannine Charles Stigall, the other three commissioners completed the chief’s evaluation for 2015-16 and authorized a 2-percent pay raise. This would bring his total salary, exclusive of benefits, to about $88,000.

The increase is consistent with the increase for career staff proposed in the recently adopted memorandum of understanding with the Career Firefighters Association.

“The chief received a very favorable review and a salary increase in line with the MOU,” said Commission Vice President Rhonda Andrewson.

Other business was limited. Financial results for July, the first month of fiscal year 2016-17, were negative, which is typical for the summer months because property tax revenue does not flow to IFPD until after the first payments in December.

The July net income was a negative $137,400 compared to a negative $60,500 in July 2015. The loss was bigger this year because last July, the fire department received a $100,000 reimbursement for work on other fires.

Besides personnel costs, the largest expenditure ($18,000) was for legal services.

In other financial business, Treasurer Nancy Layton reported that she and Finance Committee Chair Calvin Gogerty were still recruiting two citizen members for the committee.

The district is installing and beginning to use new financial software. The transition is not complete yet, but Layton expects it to occur in the next few months.

Reitz also reported that several crews had been called to the recent spate of fires in Northern California.

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