Four candidates are running for two spots on the Kuna Rural Fire District Commission.

Two sub-districts, districts 2 and 4, each have seats up for the Nov. 7 election.

Those running for sub-district 2 are:

n Tim Crawford, incumbent

n Randall Feaster

Those running for sub-district 4 are:

n Hal Harris, incumbent

n Bob Humphrey

Sub-district seat 3 is up for election, however, incumbent Mike Smith is running unopposed.

There are five sub-districts on the Kuna Rural District Fire Commission.

Below are survey responses from the candidates for the contested races of sub-districts 2 and 4:

SUB-DISTRICT 2

Name: Tim Crawford

Age: 38

Occupation: Local business owner — Kuna Machine Shop

Please describe what you think the top three issues facing Kuna Rural Fire District are:

Growth

Budgeting — To complete a five- and 10-year master plan that will identify the expected resources that will be needed to handle to growth and increased demands for emergency services.

Personnel — We added three new full-time positions over the past two years to complete four-person crews 24/7. It will be a challenge to continue growing the department at a pace that can keep up with the demands and with limited budgeting authority.

Why are you running for this position? I was Mayor Stear’s designated interim successor in 2015 when he was elected as mayor, based on his recommendation to the board, I was appointed commissioner in February 2016. During that time I have become familiar with the responsibilities of being a public servant. My time with the district has been very rewarding and I would like to continue my involvement with the planning for growth and how it can pay for itself. I am currently the chairman of the Impact Fee Committee that is working to have a report and recommendation to the board in December and hopefully present to the city of Kuna and Ada and Canyon counties after the first of the year. The current board is working diligently to plan for future growth, while maintaining the best level of service possible to our current patrons. The fire district consists of 110 square miles, so we have a high potential of being one of the fastest-growing districts in the state.

If elected, what do you hope to accomplish? To finish what I started as the chairman of the Impact Fee Committee and to continue the process of planning for the increased demand we will face with growth. Continue hiring additional personnel and purchasing additional equipment to handle the increased demands on emergency services that will come with the expected growth.

Why should voters select you over your opponent? My experience as a business owner in the community along with my experience as a commissioner gives me the knowledge that is required to be an effective public leader. I have attended more than 28 meetings of the board, including multiple meetings prior to being appointed as commissioner. I do not feel my opponent has prepared himself with the current challenges or plans of the district as he has only attended one meeting of the district.

Name: Randall Feaster

Age: 63

Occupation: Paramedic

Please describe what you think the top three issues facing Kuna Rural Fire District are: Whether you believe it to be good, bad, or indifferent, Kuna is growing. As such, the fire department must grow with it to meet the increasing demands for public safety services. From fires to EMS calls and everything in between, the fire department is the last line of defense when it comes to an emergency situation that is not law enforcement related. The unofficial motto of fire departments throughout the country seems to be “do more with less.” Kuna Fire Department is no exception. The brave men and women of the Kuna Fire Department continue to be very talented and resourceful, but there will come a time when resources are depleted.

The top issues are closely tied together. They are deployment model/staffing, readiness and recruitment/retention. Let’s first look at the standard staffing model everywhere in Ada County except for Kuna. Typically, engine/truck companies are staffed with three and less frequently four personnel. On EMS related calls there are an additional two personnel on an ambulance. This is a total of five to six personnel. Kuna Fire Department staffs three and less frequently four firefighters and paramedics to staff for both firefighting apparatus and an ambulance. On structure fire calls, the National Fire Protection Association stated in 2007 that the minimum required personnel at a working structure fire should be four and deployed in a two in and two out fashion. When less than that arrive, the first arriving company must face the critical decision of whether to wait to perform

Reporter’s note: Candidate response ends abruptly due to exceeded word count.

Why are you running for this position? I am running for the position of Kuna Fire Commissioner to be part of a working group of five commissioners to best serve the public trust by bringing our district, to at least an equitable, if not superior, public safety level afforded to all other cities and areas of Ada County. The fire department will necessarily be required to grow to meet the needs of our growing community. This needs to be accomplished in a reasonable, efficient and fiscally conservative manner. Kuna tax dollars per household are already relatively on par with the remainder of the county, yet we get less protection. This needs to be resolved.

If elected, what do you hope to accomplish? No answer was provided.

Why should voters select you over your opponent? I believe that you will find that I am well qualified. I have previously been a small business owner prior to emergency services. I have been a volunteer in the Elk Grove Fire Department (California) and with the Kuna Rural Fire District. In Emergency Medical Services I have worked in the public and private sectors in ground, helicopter and fixed wing transport. For the past 25 years I have worked for Ada County Paramedics where I now serve as a Lieutenant/Field Training Officer.

I would appreciate your vote on Nov. 7.

SUB-DISTRICT 4

Name: Hal (Harold) Harris

Age: no answer was provided

Occupation: Over 33 years of sales, business management and rancher

Please describe what you think the top three issues facing Kuna Rural Fire District are:

1. Updating apparatus and protective equipment for the firefighters. Safety is always the first concern, the cost of new apparatus and equipment can be challenging for a small district and takes experienced budgeting skills to manage and plan for those purchases. A new fire engine currently costs over $500,000.

2. Growth — planning and preparing for growth, having a plan that can keep pace with growth as it comes and also maintain the level of service the patrons of the district currently have.

3. Personnel — The district currently has 14 full-time firefighters and up to 30 part-time volunteers. It is difficult for a small district to compete with the wages and benefits of the larger neighboring departments. After sitting on the negotiations committee over the past few years I have firsthand understanding of the challenges we are faced with to manage a budget that has to cover a fare wage increase for the firefighters as well as purchase new equipment and plan for future infrastructure. Fortunately, the district has been committed to increasing wages over the past 14 years and plans to be compatible with the other districts of the same size within the next couple years, as well as have the ability to sustain those wages and benefits long term.

Why are you running for this position? I was appointed commissioner in 2013 and again in 2015 by request of the board. Having attended more than 70 meetings during that time I feel I have a good understanding of the ongoing challenges and demands that are put on the district board of commissioners. I feel my 33 years of experience in sales and business, along with my experience as a commissioner, has equipped me with the necessary skill-set to continue being a great public servant to the constituents of the district.

If elected, what do you hope to accomplish? I hope to continue the process we have started to handle the growth that is coming to our community. We are currently pursuing avenues that allow for growth to pay for itself. I would also like to see the district continue its efforts to work collaboratively with other departments in the valley on training, hiring, purchasing and mutual aid to maximize the use of our resources to provide the best emergency services possible to the constituents of the district. To continue with planned purchasing of new apparatus and equipment to keep our firefighters and the community safe.

Why should voters select you over your opponent? I believe my years of experience not only in my career but also as a commissioner for the district makes me a good choice for the voters. It can be difficult at times to balance safety, public service and personnel issues. I understand ethics in government and my experience provides me with the skills to manage those responsibilities and make the best decision as a public servant. Over the past few years we have managed to purchase a new fire engine, ambulance, a used brush truck and we will be bringing home a new water tender the first week of November. All of this equipment was badly needed to replace apparatus that were over 20 years old, and in poor condition.

During my time on the commission we have increased firefighters on shift from three to four, allowing for greater safety and better service. Currently I am serving as vice-chairman of the commission and I am looking forward to helping our department meet the needs of our growing community in the next four years.

Bob Humphrey did not submit responses.

 

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