Snowmass-Wildcat fire board candidates make their case for election
Voting takes place May 3; absentee ballot request deadline is April 26
The Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District will soon hold its first contested election for the Board of Directors since 2006, with four candidates vying for three seats on the board. The Snowmass Sun invited each candidate to submit a statement of no more than 300 words; each is published below.
The election for the Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District is May 3.
Voters can cast their ballot in person on May 3 at the Snowmass VIllage fire station, or request an absentee ballot from Susan Herwick at email@example.com. Requests for absentee ballots must be submitted by 4:30 p.m. on April 26.
William (Bill) Boineau
I, William (Bill) Boineau, am up for re-election on May 3 for the special district, which requires your vote. I ask for your support to allow me to continue the work we have accomplished to protect our communities between Snowmass Village and Basalt. I am running for one of the three seats on the fire district Board of Directors this election. Also please consider Elizabeth Striegler as your second vote.
The fire district looks at the trends to continue to be an efficient, well-run special district to take care of our personnel and responsibilities. We have and continue to work on planning exercises to allow an appropriate growth for the increasing call volumes the growing Roaring Fork Valley is experiencing. Over the 37-plus years I’ve been involved as a firefighter/EMT (17 years) and board member (20 years), I have seen and experienced many issues in the importance to the fire protection district and the enhancement of the organization’s ability to serve. We’ve had growing pains when moving from a mostly volunteer organization to today’s Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority, which has combined the two special districts, Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District and Basalt and Rural Fire Protection District.
This combined effort has allowed both our smaller organizations to become more efficient by joining administrative tasks, one fire chief-manager, one fire marshal, one human resources director, one finance director, one training officer and one medical director and other important positions the authority has allowed because of joining forces.
Please contact me if you have any questions regarding this election. My contact information is firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-948-7670.
Elizabeth (Ellie) Striegler
Hello, my name is Elizabeth (Ellie) Striegler and I am running for re-election on the Snowmass Wildcat Fire Protection District Board.
Snowmass Village has been my home since 2008. It is where I met my husband and where our two children now attend school. I have watched immense growth over those past 14 years as Snowmass has blossomed from being predominantly a ski resort town to a world-renowned destination for winter and summer adventures. This expansion has brought change and new opportunities, along with evolving infrastructure demands.
Snowmass-Wildcat firefighters are integral to meeting those needs by providing 24-hour emergency response in critical situations; and to protecting our environment and community, including residents, employees, visitors, structures and land. We can support them through purchasing new equipment, offering training, implementing new technology, and providing competitive compensation while remaining fiscally responsible.
As a current district board member, and the only female candidate, I am honored to serve and bring a diverse voice to the table; as such, I seek your vote for re-election on May 3. I am committed to representing our community as together we support the Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District not only for the present, but for future generations.
It was with great honor that I accepted the second career firefighter/paramedic position offered by Snowmass-Wildcat Fire and with great pride that I retired 28 years later having helped create one of the premier fire departments in the state of Colorado. With the merger with Basalt Fire and the formation of Roaring Fork Fire Authority, I want to make sure that the high level of service to the citizens that was provided by Snowmass Fire is still being provided by the Authority, which I have concerns about. Additionally, this level of service needs to be provided in a financially prudent fashion with appropriate use of taxpayer funds, which I also have concerns about. I believe that my 45 years of emergency services gives me a clear vision of what is required to run the district to meet these two goals.
From a financial oversight standpoint, I was president of the Seasons Four Homeowners Association during an extensive and contentious refurbishment of the property and grounds and was able to work well with all the concerned parties. I have also been the president of the Board of Directors for Little Red Schoolhouse during one of its most successful fundraising years as well as the first year of the pandemic and was able to help navigate both those unique financial situations.
There hasn’t been an election to the Snowmass Fire Board since 2006, and there have been huge changes in the structure and operation of the department since then. Change in the oversight is needed, as well. The safety of our citizens and our firefighters is paramount followed closely by appropriate and transparent financial use of taxpayer funds. If elected, I will ensure that those two pillars are the foundation of all decisions made by the board.
Over the last several months, I have been approached by numerous staff members of the fire district asking if I would consider running for the fire board. I have had several conversations, all with a clear, recurrent theme: the level of service that is being provided to Snowmass Village has deteriorated since the merger of the Snowmass and Basalt districts in 2017.
The results speak for themselves. Snowmass has less staff on duty, went from three ambulances to two, sold some of its high-priced fire apparatus to support the purchase of new equipment, some of which now resides in Basalt. The list goes on and on. A review of the financials of the district reveals that Snowmass Village contributed $1.2 million more in cash reserves toward the merger and raises at least $200,000 more annually in tax revenues than Basalt to the combined district coffers. However, despite our district’s higher contribution, Snowmass has lost capability, staff and equipment.
The purpose of a board is to provide direction and oversight. In addition, an elected director of a special district has a fiduciary responsibility for making sure they represent the electorate. Unfortunately, this oversight and representation has not been properly serving the residents of Snowmass Village. Being on the fire board was not something I planned to aspire toward, but, given the current situation, I feel a personal obligation to represent our fire district. I bring the expertise needed to be an informed director. I have been an emergency physician at Aspen Valley Hospital for 25 years, and I was the physician director of the EMS services of Snowmass Fire for over 15 years. I also have over 10 years of experience serving on the special district board at AVH and have first-hand knowledge of how a highly functioning board should provide direction and oversight. I understand what our fire department staff and community need and I know how to operate efficiently with a board in order to achieve results. I am fiscally conservative, and I will keep my eye on the finances. I will make sure that the voters’ tax dollars are put to good use as I work to address district interests and budget restrictions to recreate a level of service and care Snowmass Village residents deserve from their fire department.
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