In Europe, August is generally the month government and major businesses hibernate for summer vacation. Perhaps that attitude has changed to accommodate the global economy, but I doubt Europeans can compare their summers, especially August, with the Hill.
Here, a vacation destination, residents, especially volunteers, have little time to relax while accommodating visitors.
First and foremost are the musical venues — the Idyllwild Summer Concert Series and Jazz in the Pines. One week after another, Ken Dahleen brings wonderful and outstanding musicians to our hamlet.
The entertainment culminates during the last weekend of August when the 18th Jazz in the Pines occurs. All who live or spend time here know the magnificent event which showcases dozens of professional musicians is totally dependent upon local volunteers.
The humming, tapping of feet, clapping of hands and dancing pauses occasionally as the community interweaves other events around the entertainment. For example, I thank the six candidates for the local fire commission for participating in last week’s forum.
They each spoke articulately and seriously, are willing to serve the community, and are brave and proud enough to publicly share and defend their ideas about management of the local fire district.
If you were unable to attend, two of the questions and answers begin on page 1. The entire set of 11 questions and candidate responses is online at www.idyllwildtowncrier.com.
If you missed lasts week’s forum, IFPD has announced a public hearing on Measure G. This session will be 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 15, at the Idyllwild Fire Station. I encourage voters and residents to attend this session, too.
Measure G is the proposal to raise the ceiling on the unit (structures) fee for parcels within the Idyllwild Fire District. The current ceiling is $65 annually and raises about $205,000. This represents about 12 percent of IFPD’s revenues. Measure G would raise the ceiling to $130.
The hearing will be an opportunity to ask questions about the measure, to inquire about its need, the consequences if it is not approved, how the additional funds will be used and how much and quickly the fee might be raised over $65.
One of last week’s questions addressed Measure G and the candidates’ answers are included in this week’s story. Voters should note that the candidates were not unanimously in favor or opposed to Measure G. The responses were varied and the reasons for support or opposition also varied.
Some wanted the new revenue earmarked for future capital needs, such as building maintenance or new ambulances. Some felt firefighters’ salaries and benefits needed to be protected in order for the department to be competitive with other firefighting organizations.
Since this public hearing is only a day before IFPD’s rescheduled regular monthly meeting, attendees might get more information about the district’s current and future finances from the recently completed 2009-10 audit.
At the July meeting, Chief Norm Walker said the draft audit would be available at the August meeting.
As candidate and Commission President Pete Capparelli said last week, he didn’t realize the extent of the financial problems that had accumulated at the fire department over the past five years. He compared IFPD and its finances to a big ship trying to turn in the ocean. It takes time and he urged patience.
This audit, which is the first performed by the new accounting firm, should give voters an idea of how far IFPD is into that turn and how much longer it may take.
So, while Europe may rest in August, Idyllwild, particularly in 2011, is buzzing like a beehive to present a multitude of events — both musical and political — but all are sure to be entertaining.