A new commissioner was sworn in at the Idyllwild Fire Protection District (IFPD) July board meeting. Jerry Buchanan resigned earlier in July to spend more time with his family, leaving a board vacancy. Only one person, Dennis Fogle, submitted a resume and cover letter by the deadline. He was unanimously approved by the board. 

Fogle has been an Idyllwild resident for 41 years. He retired from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 2001 after 30 years. He served as a resident deputy in the Anza and Idyllwild areas. “Prior to my relocation to Idyllwild, I served as a jail deputy and a patrolman at the Riverside Sheriff’s Office,” Fogle wrote in his letter to the board. 

Fogle also wrote: “My interest in becoming an IFPD Commissioner is based in my concern for the safety of my family, friends and neighbors that like myself, reside here in Idyllwild. It is my great desire to ensure that our residents continue to receive professional and efficient locally controlled emergency services.”

Abatement was also discussed. Included in the Chief’s Report, IFPD Chief Mark LaMont wrote that 713 properties failed the first inspection. The district completed the second inspection June 5, which resulted in 340 failed notices. The final inspection resulted in 157 citations. In addition, 97 parcels were sent notices stating that their address signs were not at minimum standard. The board approved to not send citations to parcels with address-only infractions.  

The board unanimously approved moving banking operations to the Bank of Hemet. Three total options were presented in the board packet: BBVA Compass, Bank of Hemet and Wells Fargo. The district’s administration recommended the board select the Bank of Hemet. The district was using BBVA Compass and is currently in the process of transferring to the Bank of Hemet. The Bank of Hemet will be providing free checking with a $1,500 monthly balance (same as BBVA Compass and Wells Fargo), a 0.8% APY money market account (same as Wells Fargo, BBVA Compass offered 0.5%), a monthly payroll fee of $200 to $250 (same for Wells Fargo, BBVA Compass may not be able to provide the full service) and a $200,000 line of credit ($50,000 less than Wells Fargo but $80,000 more than BBVA Compass).  

Siren alert system

The board discussed options for the emergency siren alert system. The district received three bids. The bids range between $25,994.91 (Sentry Siren Inc.) and $57,138.89 (AMS Connect). The warranty package for the siren is similar between all three companies. AMS Connect and ASC ($50,468.12 bid) have a 10-year warranty on parts and labor and Sentry Siren has a warranty of 10 years on parts and five years on the labor. 

Board President Ralph Hoetger asked if LaMont knew how Sentry was able to bid so much lower than the others. LaMont responded that he did not know. 

LaMont recommended that the board select Sentry Siren, which the board unanimously approved. The project could be completed in 45 days from the time Sentry is given the go-ahead. Sentry requires a 15% deposit, 35% once the pole is set and the remaining balance once the project is complete. 

Newly appointed Commissioner Dan Messina expressed concern about the cost being 50% less and be reliable. The board speculated that it could be volume of work that attributed to the price being so much lower. 

The newspaper previously reported “LaMont filled out the final Community Development Block Grant (through the county) application, and has not received final approval, but is being told that the district could receive $10,000. Fern Valley Water District has allocated up to $30,000 in its FY 2020/21 approved budget. IFPD allocated up to $15,000 in its FY 2020/21 approved budget.” The Idyllwild Water District is still discussing the possibility of moving forward and had its general manager request specific language be included in the agreement.