The Sopris Sun

Fire board election a no-go

Sopris Sun Staff Report

There will be no election contest for the Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District on May 3, as only two candidates submitted nominating petitions for the two seats up for grabs, according to Fire Chief and “designated election official” Ron Leach.

The seats that were to be up for election, held by long-time fire board members Bob Emerson and Lou Eller, will automatically be filled by Eller and Tom Adgate, the only two who submitted petitions by the deadline of Feb. 26.

Emerson informed The Sopris Sun earlier this year that he did not intend to run for reelection.

The district board is made up of five directors, who now include board president Gene Schilling, vice-president Mike Kennedy, secretary-treasurer Eller, and directors Emerson and Carl Smith.

Typically, the board of directors meets on the second Wednesday of each month, at 5:30 p.m., at the main fire department headquarters at 301 Meadowood Drive in Carbondale, unless there are special reasons to meet more frequently.

The fire district, which encompasses more than 300 square miles covered by five fire stations in a region defined by the Crystal and Roaring Fork river drainages, covers the towns of Marble, Redstone, Carbondale and unincorporated sections of Garfield County. The district reportedly has 18 full-time paid positions filled by fire fighters and emergency medical technicians, along with roughly 65 volunteers who respond to fire calls.

The district has a budget of about $2.9 million fueled by property taxes, along with a pension fund of nearly $2 million fed by contributions from fire fighters and the district itself, to cover the costs of running the district’ operations and paying out pensions to its combination of volunteer  (including fire-board members) and paid employees.

Published in The Sopris Sun on March 3, 2016.