Mid County Fire Protection District's Jan. 9 board meeting was packed when residents filed in to express their concerns about the district's looming budget cuts.
Various members of the standing room only crowd spoke out against the potential cuts. Most live near a fire station that could potentially be closed.
"I come to you as a concerned citizen and a Mid County tax payer. After the recent discussion of the closing of fire station on AA, I've been doing research on how it will affect my household and my neighbors," Stacey Shore of Roach said to the Board of Directors in an already typed letter she read aloud.
Shore expressed concerns with the thought of closing the fire station near her home when the district recently purchased a plot of land for approximately $50,000.
"From where I sit that seems to be a pretty irresponsible expenditure when two months later, you tell the rest of us that you are going to have to close our stations," Shore added. "So I ask you if we cannot even afford to keep some buildings open, why are you wanting to build others?"
Shore also added that she was displeased with the district wanting to purchase new apparatus.
Other concerned residents such as Bill Seib spoke to the board as well and brought up points such as when the district's administration last received raises.
Chief Scott Frandsen responded to the citizens with a prepared statement. He addressed past elections, promises made by past administration and boards, the recent land purchase and looming budget cuts.
"First of all, this administration neither this board created the problem that we currently have," Frandsen said.
He went on to say, "Employees haven't had raises. We have most employees doing the repair on our equipment. "
Frandsen added that the district has not had a levy increase since 1986. Due to rising cost in bills and expenses, the district is finding it hard to operate on the current levy much longer.
Frandsen and other board members explained the recent land purchase as well. The funds used for the purchase were gained by re-figuring bonds and had to spend the funds. Therefore, the board decided to purchase the land and be on their way to fulfilling a promise made to voters in the Camelot area.
After closing the public comment portion, the board went on with their usual monthly meeting. All members were present except for Treasurer Mike High. Fire Marshal and Deputy Chief Chris Bachman gave the board his official notice that he is resigning. Chief Frandsen announced Bachman's resignation earlier in the month.
During the Chief's report, Frandsen told the board that he was planning on presenting them with a timeline for the districts looming budget cuts but due to the interest in the residents, he would put them off for another month.
Page 2 of 2 - One resident spoke up and said he was disappointed that the board did not reopen the public comment portion for more feedback. After considering the request for a moment, Chairman Charles McElyea gave residents another moment to speak up.
Various concerned citizens stood up around the room saying their piece. Many asked to the board to consider not filling Bachman's position allowing the district to utilize those funds in a different way. Chief Frandsen responded by bringing up the point that if the Fire Marshal's position is done away with, the funds from inspections and codes would go away as well.
The standing room only crowd was a stark contrast from the amount of residents who showed up for the various public hearing meetings the district held prior to the election.
Following the meeting, Shore told the Lake Sun that she felt like the meeting was productive and hopes to see the citizens and Mid County board move forward in a positive direction. She also told the Lake Sun that she did vote in the election but voted against the levy increase.
Frandsen said that he felt like overall the meeting went well with many individuals making good points. He now is waiting to see which direction the board wishes to go.
The Lake Sun filmed portions of the board meeting. A video recap will be available on Lake News Online soon.