Appears CAG is recommending SJ EMS integrate with San Juan Island Fire Dept

According to an audio recording of the Citizen Advisory Group's last meeting, the recommendation they have given to the San Juan Island Fire District Commission and the San Juan Public Hospital County #1 Commission is to integrate San Juan Island EMS into the Fire Dept. EMS, which has its own levy,  is currently overseen by the Hospital District. 

At the meeting, Nathan Butler demonstrated how the report could be summarized, "We basically say, we are recommending a consolidation. Probably the simplest way to do it is annex the Town [into the fire district] and lid lift the Fire District levy. We recommend you expand your board to accommodate people from Town and [unintelligible]. We are recommending a memo of understanding for the outer islands."

CAG member Mark Tompkins said, "There are other important things. There are absolute conditions that it is important for the public to understand."

George Johnson said implementation recommendations and benefits of a consolidation are also important to share.   

The PHD Commission and the Fire District Commission will hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 2 at the Fire District offices located at 1011 Mullis Street in Friday Harbor. A representative from the Town of Friday Harbor is sending a representative.

The purpose of this meeting is to hear the final report of the CAG that has been meeting for a year researching a possible integration of SJ EMS into SJ Fire and Rescue. The CAG gave the PHD and the Fire Dept. electronic copies of the lengthy report last week. 

The meeting is open to the public, on a first-come, first-served basis until room capacity is reached. While copies of the report will not be printed for the public, a limited number of copies of the recommendation portion of the report will be available at the meeting. Digital copies of the entire report are expected to be uploaded to the Fire District's, Town's, and Hospital District websites.

The Citizen’s Advisory Group spent time at their final meeting figuring out how to prevent the public from seeing a copy of the report before the April 2 meeting. Documents to be used at public meetings are often posted digitally when the agendas are posted. The PHD doesn't do that. The Fire District has posted background material on its website -  "Report to the Board of Commissioners".

The  21-page "Report to the Board of Commissioners' details the operations, budgets, regulations pertaining to the fire department and EMS. The report includes the following statements about each agency's anticipated capital needs. 

"Both agencies are fairly close to balancing current annual revenue and expenditures. The fire department does though, have significantly more funds on hand to address anticipated capital expenditures. For the department those are expenditures are to some extent discretionary, for EMS there are substantial and immediate capital needs. Should the fire district assume responsibility for the provision of EMS services the capital needs of EMS would mean the potential postponement of capital expenditures contemplated by the district. "

"...Within the next five years a substantial amount of EMS inventory is scheduled to be replaced. This includes defibrillators with a total replacement cost of $200,000, power cots with a total replacement cost of $75,000, a medic chase car with a replacement cost of $35,000, 2 ambulances with a total replacement cost of $350,000. The total scheduled replacement costs exceed $660,000.

"Larger expenditures on the five year horizon for fire include the refurbishment/replacement of one tender (up to $200,000), replacement of Engine 371, (Brown Island), at $175,000, replacement of self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBAs) ($411,000), potential land acquisitions at Sta. 36, and land for a training or a maintenance facility. The replacement of R314 is also a long term consideration."

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