New Truckee Fire board appoints existing members to key oversight positions |

New Truckee Fire board appoints existing members to key oversight positions

Jason Shueh
Sierra Sun
Jason Shueh/Sierra Sun From left, Truckee Fire Protection District directors Gerald Herrick, Victor Hernandez, Ron Perea, Bob Snyder and Paul Wilford.

TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Both members of the controversial Truckee fire board from the summer of 2010 will take on the governing body’s key roles in 2011.

At Tuesday’s meeting and#8212; the first for newly elected Truckee Fire Protection District Board member Victor Hernandez, Paul Wilford and Gerald Herrick and#8212; director Bob Snyder nominated fellow director Rob Perea to become chair of the board, while Perea, in turn, nominated Snyder for vice chair

The board voted 5-0 to approve its new officers. It will be Perea’s second stint as chair.

Perea said the nominations were based on past experience as board members, knowing standard operating procedures for the board and thus, being able to assist the three new members as they became more comfortable in their positions.

and#8220;That’s exactly what it is,and#8221; Perea said Thursday. and#8220;You don’t want to put new people in there like that until they get there feet wet.and#8221;

The vote came after a summer full of controversy surrounding the previous board’s transparency during meetings, actions surrounding ambulance territory and the decision to dismiss Fire Chief Bryce Keller.

Truckee resident Jim Porter, of Porter-Simon law firm and#8212; who was very critical during the summer and#8212; said the current situation is unfortunate considering the community’s outcry for change during the elections.

and#8220;I think by doing that they just set the stage for the next election,and#8221; Porter said Wednesday. and#8220;I was very disappointed that they didn’t include one of the newly elected board members … the speed with which they nominated each other is suspect.and#8221;

Porter also was critical of the three new board members, who he said were being and#8220;differentialand#8221; considering their newly sworn-in status.

and#8220;It just smacked of fear,and#8221; Porter said.

Hernandez said he was surprised how the nomination and election process was conducted, but said he wasn’t interested in the positions and had faith in past board members.

and#8220;I was quite surprised it was that quickly done,and#8221; Hernandez said. and#8220;Those two (Snyder and Perea) have been on there before, and if they want to play those roles, that’s fine for this one calendar year.and#8221;

Herrick said he will ensure his election campaign promise to keep all actions of the board as transparent as possible.

and#8220;I think it’s going to work,and#8221; Herrick said. and#8220;(Perea and Snyder) have been there for several years and they’ve had the experience and I think it’s good for us to respect that.and#8221;

During the meeting, the new board also took time to praise outgoing board chair Ben Malone, who was in the audience.

Interim Fire Chief Bob Bena reported property tax revenues for the district will drop anywhere from $300,000 to $400,000 during the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Bena said the cause for the heavy drop is due to the reassessment of homes in Nevada County that have resulted in lower property taxes for residents; and conversely, lower revenue for the fire district.

and#8220;Right now they are holding pretty true to negative 5.5 percent for Nevada County; so, that’s good because county wide it’s about negative 7.5 percent,and#8221; Bena said. and#8220;But because of the way they apportioned it it’s going to be about a negative 5.5 percent to us.and#8221;

The district’s first installment of funding from property taxes will come to the district in January and will also be the time when it can calculate final revenue numbers and see if any cuts need to be made.

and#8220;It’s a serious dip,and#8221; Bena said.

To maintain current services, Bena said roughly 2 percent to 3 percent growth in property tax revenue is needed for inflation and higher labor and maintenance costs.

Notwithstanding the projected losses, Bena said the district is in good standing from conservative budgeting and fiscal prudence.

and#8220;We’ve been working really hard and#8212; really, really, hard on watching our spending (and) watching our staffing, and we’re doing really, really, good,and#8221; Bena said.

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