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September 22, 1997


District Hears Investment Report

  by Al Hooper
   On September 15th, the Woodinville Fire and Life Safety District Commissioners heard the report of the Freeland Group concerning the District's financial investments. Hans Gunderson reported that he and his staff had reviewed the plans offered to the District from both the King County Investment Pool and the District's current private investment advisor.
   Each option had been previously presented to the Board by representatives, but conflicting calculations led the Board to ask an independent source for further clarification. Members of the Board praised Gunderson for the "thoroughness and professionalism" in the report. Gunderson summarized the findings by reminding the Board that "a figure such as rate of return is only one of many things to think about when deciding which way to go".
   In finishing his remarks, Gunderson stated that "each plan has it advantages, and that neither plan stands out clearly as a superior winner".
   Lake of the Woods Property
   The Commissioners also debated the future of a piece of District-owned property near the Lake Of The Woods development. Nearby residents have asked the District to publicize its intentions regarding the future use, or even the possible sale of, the property.
   Commissioners Ben May and Don Eddy offered the merits of either selling the property outright, or at least obtaining an appraisal, while Commissioner Dave Callon stated that "without a Master Plan in place to which we can refer, any action we take now would be inappropriate." The Board voted to obtain an appraisal, and determine a course of action after that.
   Chief Steve Smith reported that the District is working closely with both the City of Woodinville and Snohomish County Fire District 7 to make sure that the pending annexation of Grace goes forward as quickly as possible. He stated that because of the impending incorporation of Maltby, the annexation is "on the fast track." Attorney Clark Snure expressed the opinion that it was not feasible for the District to ask for a transfer of assets. He also said that the question of whether or not the District could ask the newly annexed landowners to pay the Benefits Charge was not clearly answered in State laws. Callon moved that the District provide available services to the annexed area without making any attempt to collect the Benefits Charge, reasoning that "the amount in question is not enough to justify the cost of collecting it." After some discussion, the motion passed.
   Banners and Safety
   Eddy brought before the Board a request from citizens of the community that a ladder truck be made available to hang a banner over a street. Debate ensued, with Eddy favoring the District's "public commitment." Callon opposed "on the grounds that to do so would send the public a message that Fire District equipment is available as banner hangers for private business. May also opposed by stating "I don't want to endanger call response times. Furthermore, I wouldn't want to be the person who has to tell a relative that someone was not rescued because a vital piece of equipment was unavailable due to hanging a banner."
   Deputy Chiefs Dominic Marzano and Ed Nelson also reminded the Board that safety issues are involved, and that risks and liabilities are extremely high. They asked that any citizens needing to hang a banner call upon the services of "non-emergency" ladder truck owners. One such source offered was the various utility companies.
   Battalion Chief Phil Paige proposed that permanent poles be erected for the purpose of hanging banners. These poles could be placed where there is little or no risk to lives or property, and they be equipped with ropes and pulleys, allowing operation by "non-professionals." This could be viewed as a "win-win" situation for everyone.
   Other Business
   May asked that the Board convene a meeting soon "to decide the Board's responsibilities and philosophies, and to give those policies and direction to Operations." The Board voted to meet on Friday, October 3rd, at 9:00am. The meeting will take place in the Training Room of District Headquarters, located at 19900 144th Ave NE, Woodinville. It is open to all, and all are encouraged to attend.
   Chairman Frank Peep reported to the Board that the Citizens Advisory Council had met the night before, and that they had agreed to help the Board with the composition of the Benefits Charge letter that will be sent to District residents soon. Peep reminded the audience that the CAC meetings are open to the public, and all are welcome and give their input.
   The Commissioners normally meet at 6:00 pm on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at the District Headquarters, located at 19900 144th Ave NE. They can be reached via voice mail at 483-2131.