Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Taxation Without Representation

One of the most pressing and least known about issues facing the Timberlake Fire district is the reallocation of commission seats. As it stands today, there are five commissioners, each elected at large, but residing in the districts that they run from.

Some years back there were territorial wars between Sagle Fire District and Timberlake. As a result of that, we have a Sagle fire station south of Little Blacktail Road, and up Blacktail, is a Timberlake Fire Station.

In the unintended consequences category, state law requires that when two counties are involved in a fire district, that the minority county have at least two board members. If followed strictly, this would mean that Bayview would become disenfranchised, even though with Cape Horn, the area represents about 55% of the fire district in population. Obviously this is unacceptable. With 5% of the population controlling 40% of the board of directors, some sort of reapportionment is in order. Not to protect any one's district, but to even things out so that the "One person, One vote" principle is upheld.

We have no quarrel with our friends just to the north, the hope that first, someone out on the cape living in Bonner County, run for the seat becoming vacant, and that the state be petitoned to see the inequity of the situation, so that the legislature might fix the problem. Without that, a lawsuit would be the only answer. I urge each and every one of you you contact you state legislators and ask for relief from this situation.

As issues develop within the district is is vital that this information gets out to those that are unaware that they are about to lose their commissioner. A petition to recall commissioner Jon Guinn is currently being circulated, with the apparent motive of removing as many pro-Krill commissioners as possible. With the pending retirement of Kirk Quillan, Bayview's current board member, our interests will be at the mercy of first those that don't live here, and secondly, in favor of dumping the first decent fire chief we have had in a very long time.

Whether or not you agree with me on any of these issues, they needed to be brought out into the light of day so that people can make informed decisions. I have copies of the district board meeting minutes through 2008-2009 from which I will attempt to separate fact from fiction. As far as Guinn goes, I tracked each and every vote and he never voted against any payments to anyone or for any equipment for any reason. That is a fact.

For those that wish to follow Timberlake Fire Prevention district, go to their web site of that name and check these things out yourselves. Votes on each issue and by whom are recorded history, not rumor and not innuendo.

The following is an email sent to Jack Krill, Timberlake fire Chief, following the February 17th Timberlake Fire Protection District Commissioners meeting in Bayview. This was supplied by it's author, George Grandy.


I want to express my support for your actions about the equipment repair and maintenance. Safety is paramount and dictates every decision you make. Your plan of action is the correct one -- (1) evaluate where we stand today, (2) determine the costs, and (3) make a plan to get the equipment either up to code and back in service or scrap it, if necessary. The past is interesting, but it doesn't correct the problems or map a way forward. Complacency by the Commissioner's over the past few years is how we got to this point -- more inaction is not the path we want for the future,

I attended last nights Commissioner's meeting and was taken back by the number of people who have a personal vendetta, were giving a CYA speech or are willing to scrap their fire protection in favor of lower taxes. None of this is productive in finding our way forward. You can forget all the crazy ideas to get "cheap" maintenance and repairs. Always follow the code and use certified mechanics/shops. We should expect the best and should be willing to pay for it.

Personally, I would rather see my tax dollars go to the fire district than to an insurance company. You can count on my support for a levy increase, if necessary, and/or any other action you determine is necessary to make TFPD the safest and best it can be. I want to be able to count on you, your staff, the volunteers and the equipment to be there when I or one of my neighbors needs help.

Thank you and keep up the good work.

George A. Grandy

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