Eagle River fire district has one contested seat
Where to vote
The Eagle River Fire Protection District is holding a polling-place election May 6 (unless you’ve already requested and submitted an absentee ballot). Residents of the district, which runs from the top of Tennessee Pass into Red Cliff, Minturn, Avon, Edwards and Wolcott, can vote at one of three locations.
• The fire station in Minturn.
• The fire station in Avon.
• The Eagle County Paramedic Services building in Edwards.
EAGLE COUNTY — While there are three seats up for election Tuesday for the Eagle River Fire Protection District Board of Directors, only one of those seats is being contested.
Al Bosworth, of Edwards, and Darell Wegert, of Minturn, are running unopposed. Dan Smith, of Avon, and Clint Janssen, of Edwards, are competing for one seat on the board. We asked all the candidates a couple of questions about why they want to serve and what they think are the most important issues facing the district. Here are their replies:
Residence: I live in the South 40 subdivision of Edwards.
Occupation: I am currently working for Beaver Creek Public Safety but retired from Vail Fire and Emergency Services after working there for 30 years.
Why do you want this job? I served as president of the South 40 homeowners association for many years and as a someone with over 30 years of experience as a firefighter, I can offer that perspective to the board.
What’s the biggest issue facing the district during the next two years? I think the previous board was faced with the tough job of getting the district’s finances organized, and the most pressing financial issues are now resolved. There is one area I would like to see improve: We have had many firefighters move out if the area because they can’t afford to live here. I would like to do something to entice their return. Having employees living locally will build stronger ties to the community and improve off-duty response if needed.
Residence: I’ve lived in Minturn since 1976.
Occupation: Lumber buyer at Edwards Building Center.
Why do you want this job? I have been involved with Minturn’s fire departments since the 1970s. I have always enjoyed the challenges with the fire departments and the camaraderie.
What’s the biggest issue facing the district during the next two years? The challenges upcoming are updating and catching up from the financial hole we all landed in.
Why do you want this job? I enjoy serving my community and believe my past experience on the Eagle County Paramedic Services Board, the Vail Mountain Rescue Board and the Salvation Army Board more than qualify me for the Eagle River Fire Protection District Board. The role of the board is to manage the politics, policies and funds of the district. Part of that role is to balance the needs of the employees who do the firefighting with the needs of the taxpayers who provide the money. That balance requires a truly independent voice, which I believe I can provide. My time on the Eagle County Paramedic Services Board during the consolidation of the two ambulance districts in the county shows I have the ability to find a middle ground between different views.
What’s the biggest issue facing the district during the next two years? In coming years the Eagle River Fire Protection District will be faced with a number of decisions of critical importance to its residents, replacement of aging infrastructure and maintenance of a high-quality employee base to name just two.
Clint M. Janssen
Occupation: President, Vail Valley Fire Sprinkler (a fire suppression contracting, installation and maintenance company).
Why do you want this job? To contribute to the fire district’s ability to grow and prosper in the future. To help guide and structure policy that insures our “building blocks” (the foundation of district beliefs and core values) endure into the future. To continue my contributions and input from a business and contracting standpoint. Finish what we started with our task forces and relationships with our town/county/neighboring districts. Make sure the district is financially strong for the long-term and more stable than when I found it. To continue serving my community in a positive manner, because after all, a core fire district belief is “service before self.” I want to leave behind a positive legacy.
What’s the biggest issue facing the district during the next two years? I believe there are three key issues facing the district.
1. Depending on our summer fire season (weather), wildfire preparedness throughout the district could propel this issue to the forefront.
2. Proper and continuous prudent management of our financial resources, which affects our ability to retain top talent and maintain or replace our capital equipment.
3. Relocation of the Avon station from its current address based on the town’s redevelopment plans will be a challenge.
I am not at liberty to go into greater detail on these issues, but please feel free to attend our board meetings.
Thank you for your consideration.
Eagle County Schools added six mental health counselors and the district will add two more school resource officers, according to the school district’s 2019-2020 budget book. The district also aised starting pay and gave staffers a 2.3% cost-of-living raise.