Mar 232012

By Naomi Hatch —

The Snowflake Town Council evaluated the goals for a Fire Services Committee during a meeting on March 20.

After discussion, it was agreed that services both in and out of town present an issue and that to provide services in town there are not adequate resources to meet the needs.

Council members felt that a committee should look into a fire district and an emergency service tax.

“What I’m asking is, before we appoint the committee and have them go out and do whatever research we want them to do and come back with the findings… My first question would be, are we dedicated enough or do we have enough purpose here that whatever they come back with we will accept it?” asked Paul Watson, Town Manager.

The council agreed that the current status of fire services is inadequate and this would be a relief for the general fund.

“Chief (Pat) Hancock is looking at this for a viable way of keeping his fire station going,” said Mayor Kelly Willis.

“I’d like the committee,” said Vice Mayor Jason Whiting, noting that he would like to have people that are impacted by this to help research. “Having a consultant gives us factual information.”

“The way I envisioned the committee was actually to explore the options,” said Councilman Tom Poscharsky, noting that previously staff was going to gather facts and come up with fees and they have not, to date, gotten information.

“We do have that information,” said Town Manager Paul Watson, explaining that when the concept of a committee came up he put that on hold.

“Basically what they (the committee) would do is to look at options for enhancing our current fire services because we do not believe our current situation works,” said Watson.

Fire Chief Hancock pointed out that approximately $40,000 in taxes from the community goes to fire districts, but Snowflake is a municipal fire department and doesn’t get any of that money.

Watson summed up discussion stating, “So I’ve heard two reasons for the purpose and heard good support for creating a committee.”

“We may want to piggy-back on Taylor and talk to Sterling Solomon (Taylor Town Attorney),” suggested Vice Mayor Whiting, noting they previously discussed fees for service outside town limits.

Council members agreed to appoint a committee that would consist of the fire chief, two town council members, a representative from the school and a large business that would be affected, an insurance representative and, potentially, an outside consultant with previous experience in such matters.