The Idyllwild Fire Protection District Commission selected Patrick Reitz, formerly the fire chief and emergency services director for the City of Sheridan, Wyo., as the next Idyllwild fire chief. Reitz will begin service Aug. 1.

The vote was 4-0. Commissioner Jerry Buchanan was absent.

He was laid off from this position in February 2012. He recommended to the Sheridan Mayor and City Council that his position and a chief for operations could be combined into one and would save the city money. His starting salary at Idyllwild will be $85,932.

“In addition to being a paramedic, Chief Reitz has over 13 years of experience as fire chief with a keen understanding of finances and administration. He has been successful in obtaining grant monies and in meeting budget challenges,” Jeannine Charles-Stigall, IFPD Commission president, said in an email. “One of Chief Reitz’s core values is that the fire department needs to have strong ties to the community and the community should have strong ties to the fire department. It was his focus on community, as well as his exceptional medical, financial and administrative experience, which made him stand out from the other candidates.”

The commission also unanimously approved amendments to the ambulance contract for Zones 2 (Pine Cove) and 3 with Riverside County. Idyllwild will receive $165,404 this fiscal year (beginning July 1). This is $67,500 (nearly 70 percent) more than last year. The contract subsidies increase four percent annually to $178,901 in fiscal 2014-15.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors must also approve the contract amendments. This is likely to occur before August, according to Bruce Barton, EMS Agency Director, Riverside County Department of Public Health.

In other business, the department reported its end of 2011-2012 finances. Nancy Layton, consultant for financial and bookkeeping services, said these figures will be very close to the actual final results.

In fiscal year 2011-12, IFPD lost about $270,000. About $200,000 was the depletion of reserves, such as a $125,000 certificate of deposit. The remaining loss was the difference between operating expenses and revenue. The 2010-11 loss was about $190,000.

The agency’s checking account balance as of June 30 was $277,000 with no additional cash in reserve. A year ago, IFPD’s overall cash balance was $364,000, which included $264,000 in reserve.