East Grand Fire board candidate Q&A: What changes/improvements would you like to bring to the community through East Grand Fire, and what will you keep the same? | SkyHiNews.com

East Grand Fire board candidate Q&A: What changes/improvements would you like to bring to the community through East Grand Fire, and what will you keep the same?

Meg Soyars

I’d like to continue to support our Fire Prevention Bureau and the work they are doing to educate builders, developers, and homeowners. Assist in safe building practices, firewise community development, as well as responsible growth with regards to affordable housing for our volunteers. Supporting our staff and volunteers with up-to-date training and equipment so they can stay safe while providing exemplary service to our expanding community. I’d like to focus on the retention of our volunteers as well as the upkeep of our buildings and equipment. I try to maintain the balance of what I’ve mentioned while also being responsible to the taxpayers in our district and the funds they trust us with. I would like to continue to grow our district proportionally to the needs of the community. — Richard Kramer

One issue for our board is the rise of the short-term rental industry. This has increased demands upon our workforce to attend to ambulance assists, carbon monoxide, and smoke alarm calls. Is it fair to hotel and guest lodge operators paying commercial tax rates that these properties are taxed at residential rates even though they are not a primary residence? Workforce housing is another hot button issue facing the community. The term is frequently associated with developer projects to appeal to trustees, then elicit concessions from the towns and county. This can lead to scenarios where a town is a partner, becoming “landlord”. The town removes the property from the tax rolls, due to it being tax-exempt. This creates insufficiency for Title 32 special districts like East Grand Fire, which provide services through property taxation. — Stephen Loo

East Grand Fire will break ground on its newest fire station later this year. With almost 30% of our call volume coming from that end of our district, the time is right. I pushed for this station to get into the implementing phase; I would love be a part of the construction phase. My second goal is to find the balance between supporting our staff/volunteers and spending our monies conservatively. We have an incredible staff and dedicated volunteers. Their safety is paramount. In order to stay up with the industry standards in personal protective equipment, it is vital that we spend our limited funds wisely, while maintaining fiscal responsibility. I will continue my mission of strategic planning and controlled growth if reelected. — Garth Hein

I would like to bring more community involvement to the East Grand Fire department. My goals overall are to stay involved with the excellent work performed by East Grand Fire. I believe our current board of directors have done a fantastic job; I would like to be involved with that continuing process. — Rachel Hoyhtya

Editor’s Note: This is the sixth part of a six-part series about the East Grand Fire Protection District’s board election.

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