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Fire district budget advisors selected

A least a dozen community members met last week for the first time as the newly appointed Community Budget Review Committee for South Kitsap Fire and Rescue, according to Chief Wayne Senter.

Senter said 12 out of the 16 citizens who signed up for the committee attended the first meeting Oct. 3, and member Jim Civilla was chosen as chair.

The other volunteers, who will be reviewing the fire district’s 2006-07 operating budget and evaluating procedures and expenditures, include two Port Orchard City Council candidates and several business people.

Along with Civilla, the committee members are: Jim Avery, Tom Myers, Dennis Goss, Chris Matzen, Marty Mobley, Tye Moore, Jerry Preuss, Rob Putansu, Sally Santana, Tamra Ingwaldson, Robert Husted, Wayne Tripp, Steve Hutchins, Mark Grimm and David Hedger.

Hedger, a lawyer, said he believed the committee represented a “fair cross-section” of the community, and that those with business experience would be particularly helpful.

“They can evaluate how (the district) is being run as a good business, and if it is being a good steward of the taxpayers’ money,” he said, explaining that the members will look at the district’s resources and see if there are ways it could economize, or if it is handling things as well as they can be done.

Hedger said the first meeting comprised mostly of presentations, during which the district’s departments explained where their income came from, how much they received, and how they spent it.

District staff also explained what standards they were required to meet and what they are typically called upon to do, which Hedger said he found surprising.

“It was enlightening ... to learn that the fire district is basically an emergency medical response team that fights fires,” he said. “The primary reason these guys are called out is medical. We don’t have a lot of fires here, but we do have constant medical emergencies.”

The committee is scheduled to meet two more times this month, on the 17th and 31st.

Once the meetings are complete, Hedger said the members are expected to come up with a “group consensus,” but that individuals may be submitting their own opinions as well.

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