The Idyllwild Fire Protection District’s commission has set a goal of August 2019 for placing a new parcel-fee measure before voters. The amount of the proposed fee was not determined.

Over the next year, the ad hoc committee for the measure, composed of commissioners Larry Donahoo and Henry Sawicki, will develop a specific proposal, and plan for presenting the measure and guiding it to approval.

The commission also approved the “Advance Life Support” agreement between IFPD and the county. Commission President Rhonda Andrewson had several changes that she had identified earlier. Most were minor and she agreed to the agreement’s approval, subject to the modifications.

For example, the agreement has not really been brought up-to-date to recognize changes in the public-safety codes for several years. These need to be revised, she urged.

Chief Patrick Reitz suggested the commission approve the agreement subject to the corrections. “I don’t want to further delay it,” he said. The district had hired special counsel to review the agreement, and their recommendation was to go forward, Reitz added.

This agreement with the county enables IFPD to provide emergency medical service outside the district, such as to Mountain Center.

The commission also agreed to delete its policy 4046, which established the board treasurer to be selected from among the commissioners.

“We can do away with the position. There is no requirement in the [California public] codes for this,” Commissioner Jerry Buchanan said in support of eliminating the position. “I maintain it’s all of our responsibilities.”

Buchanan’s motion was approved 4-1, with Commissioner Ralph Hoetger voting “No.”

During its July meeting, the commission abolished its finance committee, largely due to the difficulty of arranging meetings, particularly regularly scheduled meetings.

At this meeting, Buchanan suggested the possibility of establishing an ad hoc finance committee to review the budget and recommend a new budget each fiscal year.

After discussing this idea, the commission decided to set regular quarterly financial reviews on its agenda instead.

In other financial business, the first month of the new fiscal year saw expenses exceed revenue by nearly $115,000. However, the Cranston Fire, which began July 25, was the reason expenses were significantly higher than normal. Some of the agency’s costs will be recovered later in the year after mutual-aid reimbursements are filed and processed.

Also, the only significant revenue collections in July, and through November, are ambulance fees, which were almost $150,000 in July. Property-tax revenue is received in December and January.

As reported last week, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors approved, without discussion, the request for advancing $400,000 of property-tax revenue to IFPD. This will be repaid from the December tax distributions.

During his comments, Reitz expressed “kudos” to Capt. Adam Rodriquez and his crew for their time and efforts combating the Cranston Fire. He also acknowledged the help offered by many other non-firefighters during the fire.

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