Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Letter writer was mistaken

Editor,

My responsibility as fire chief is to ensure the accuracy of information about your fire department and I must correct inaccuracies in Mr. Enell’s recent letter to the editor.

The fire district built and remodeled a number of stations over 23 years, not the “past several years” as he states.

New stations were built to last 50 to 75 years and stations built in the 1970s were remodeled to extend their life.

We first budgeted for the boat in 2010. It has been publicly discussed at fire and port district meetings since. During our levy discussions our budget was made available to everyone who asked for it. The boat was clearly presented.

My salary did not “jump” after the levy vote. My salary was fixed by my first three-year contract, increased only by cost-of-living adjustments.

I renewed my three-year contract in January and did not request a salary increase.

The board renewed a contract to redesign our proposed Bayview administration building to downsize and make it affordable.

The station is on hold and not under consideration at this time.

Department revenue is $3.6 million. What Mr. Enell doesn’t tell you is that $837,000 of it comes from federal grants for specific projects. That money comes from our federal taxes, so we each pay a much smaller per-capita share. That makes grant-funded projects a good buy for each of us.

Mr. Enell believes the district is on a spending tear and would like you to believe that something untoward is afoot.  Not so.

We have very smart fire district commissioners who make every decision considering the impact to taxpayers. The board challenges me to provide the level of service you expect at the lowest cost.

We have the largest call volume, the largest number of volunteers, and the largest fire service area in Island County and yet we have one of the lowest levy rates. Your money is spent with us looking out 25 to 50 years.

That makes your investment in us much more valuable.

If you have questions I am at your service.

RUSTY PALMER

Chief SW Fire/EMS

 

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