Sonoma Valley Fire District is now official
First meeting on July 1 set up consolidated fire district
Travis Garrett tree crew at GE Firehouse
It's official. The Glen Ellen Fire Protection District, the Sonoma Valley Fire & Rescue Authority (SVFRA) and the Mayacamas Fire District are history. They are now under one umbrella: the Sonoma Valley Fire District (SVFD), with a seven-seat board of directors sworn in and working on the hundreds of details involved in merging three working fire protection agencies.
Because of the vagaries of existing financial revenues, all three merged into Glen Ellen's district to take advantage of their higher parcel tax rate - up to $200 per parcel per year - though that rate has yet to be set. A special public meeting has been scheduled for July 28 for the new board to set the rate going forward into the 20-21 Fiscal Year.
The new board consists of Bill Norton-SVFRA (President), Matt Atkinson - GE (VP), Mark Johnson-GE (Treasurer), Ray Brunton-SVFRA, Mark Emery-SVFRA, Brian Brady-SVFRA, and Terry Leen-SVFRA.
Besides forming the new board, the July 1 meeting also observed the retirement of several long-serving members, including Directors (and former fire fighters) Peter Van Fleet and Hal Weise of the GEFD, Captains Mike Stovall and Joe Morgan, Fire Marshal Alan Jones, and Georgette Darcy, the "backbone" of the department's finance and administration, all retired from the the SVFRA.
Once sworn in by advising attorney Bill Adams, the new directors got down to the business of forming the SVFD; approving a preliminary budget of $13.5 million for FY20-21; approving and adopting new district policies and procedures; ratifying, approving and adopting existing labor understandings and agreements; and asking the Sonoma County Employee's Retirement Association to transfer retirement benefits in the new organization's name.
A positive first step included accepting an offer from tree specialist Travis Garrett to remove a sick tree from the Glen Ellen Firehouse on Arnold Drive - without charge.