Fire District No. 11 board complete, audit under way
by Clarke Davis
Jason Nellis joined the Fire District No. 11 board at Valley Falls May 10 as a representative of the firefighters.
Seating Nellis ended a dispute concerning a nonresident, John Franco, being a voting member, although he had taken a seat at the table the past three or four months.
Also new on the board was city councilman Todd Harrington, who said he was representing the city on a temporary basis — filling in for Mike Hahn.
An election of officers, normally held in January but delayed until a full board could be seated, was held and Charles “Butch” Wynkoop lost the chairmanship.
Harrington nominated Nellis who was elected to head the board. Wynkoop will be the treasurer and Mary Jane Burns will be secretary. The secretary also serves as a vice chair in the absence of the chairman. Bill Klenklen is the fifth member.
The board has acquired the auditing firm of Douthett & Co., Topeka, to audit the district’s financial accounts. The cost, according to Burns, is expected to be between $4,000 and $5,000 although she said it could be more since it’s the district’s first CPA audit.
The board continued discussion about adding a salaried full-time paramedic to the ambulance service. Ambulance director John Gordon said he believes it would require an additional 90 calls a year in order to pay the additional cost, a number that’s unlikely to occur.
John Shipley, Valley Falls, who was formerly employed by Jefferson County, wants the job and attended the meeting. He and the board discussed alternative sources of income, such as conducting classes and training in the emergency medical field and even taking over certain duties, such as financial accounting.
Most members who spoke to the issue are in favor of upgrading the service but don’t know how to pay for it. The issue is still open and will be back on the agenda next month.
Gordon told the board that an upcoming expense will be in upgrading its communication system. He said the district needs to change band width and go digital before long in order to be able to communicate with the county and others being upgraded.
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