In the April 6 issue of the Mountain Express, a letter was presented by Dr. Keith Sivertson (“Consolisate, plan, then build”) regarding the upcoming bond question in the May election concerning a new fire station for the Wood River Fire Protection District (WRFPD). While Dr. Sivertson is entitled to his opinion, he does not have the full story. Allow me to fill in the blank spaces for the public.
As one of three Commissioners for the WRFPD, I have been on the inside seeing how the large question of consolidation of the District and the Hailey Fire Department has been playing out. When I was considering running for this commissioner’s seat, the Mountain Express quoted me as saying I wanted to find out why this had been a topic of discussion for more than 20 years, yet had never happened. One of the early Hailey City Council meetings I attended where consolidation was an agenda item, a letter was submitted, signed by 18 Hailey firefighters in support of consolidation. I thought then that at last, this could finally happen. But I was wrong.
After being seated as a commissioner, I was placed as a member of the Joint Powers Board, a group comprising the Fire District, Hailey, and the Ambulance District. This group meets to coordinate the relationship between the parties concerning Mutual Aid Agreements (MAA), and the topic of consolidation. While the MAAs work seamlessly, the consolidation talks fell flat. In 2011, the consulting group ESCI recommended to all parties that consolidation was the wisest move for all, and WRFPD has always been in favor of this. However, the political will in the city of Hailey has not allowed this to move forward.