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San Juan Island Fire District and SJIEMS reach cooperative agreement

LWVSJ Observer Corps summary of San Juan Island Fire District, March 19, 2024 meeting.

The Commissioners discussed how to move forward with strategic planning and a decision on whether to put a levy lid lift request on the November ballot. They decided to hold a workshop at a special meeting on Saturday April 13 seeking public participation. The chief will prepare a package information of on district needs and finances.

The commissioners approved staff to prepare a budget amendment with updated budget numbers for June action. The commissioners approved moving from to MS Teams for information sharing to streamline staff workload. The commissioners approved the chief’s request to hire a contractor at a cost of $1000 per month on a month-to-month basis to handle operational and administrative work for the Outer Islands programs.

The Commissioners approved an MOU between SJI Fire & Rescue and SJIEMS that lays out the parameters of their cooperation.  They approved an interlocal agreement (ILA) with EMS that covers shared training and services and compensation to fire for certain services.  They approved a second ILA with SJI EMS on marine response and support using the district’s fire boat for EMS calls in their service district with shared costs. The draft agreement had included a clause on use of the fire boat for out of district calls, but that language was removed.

The Commission had an executive session on potential litigation. Afterwards the Commissioners approved a settlement agreement with Norvin Collins 2-0 with Commissioner Appleton abstaining. 

The financial report for the end of February showed $221k unencumbered in the general fund, $198k in the reserve fund and $40k in LOSAP funds for a total of $478k balance. The chief addressed members at an all-department drill laying his vision for department culture of character, camaraderie, and community.

The Other Islands Division will recruit pods of incipient stage fire fighters, set up equipment stashes and provide radios to communicate information to responding fire fighters from SJI. The current training academy will be wrapping up the final classes in the next two weekends. With the commissioners’ approval they are moving forward with the Washington State Mobilization Commitment.

The San Juan County Chiefs Association will meet quarterly to share information but lay down its 501 (c)(3) status. Chief Monin is president and Chief Butler the secretary. The department has submitted a grant request for possible loan principal relief for the fireboat loan. They have applied for a state grant for Wildfire Ready neighbors and Firewise Ambassadors programs that will provide services for individual homeowners to reduce fire hazards. 

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan organization encourages informed participation in government. The Observer Corps attends and takes notes at government meetings to expand public understanding of public policy and decisions. The notes do not necessarily reflect the views of the League or its members. 

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