Sunday, February 25, 2024

Mark Donnell takes oath as new fire commissioner

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CHELAN – The oath of office for former Chelan Fire and Rescue chief and current District 7 Commissioner No. 1 Mark Donnell was the first order of business on the meeting agenda for the Chelan Fire and Rescue Board of Commissioners on Wednesday, Jan. 17.

Carol Kibler was appointed district secretary and commissioner Russ Jones as chairman of the board.

During the public comment period, former Chelan city councilmember John Olson said one of the last things he was involved with was the city’s capital improvement plan for the next six years.

“As we total those items up the major projects total over $100 million,” said Olson. “The four essential items in my book that the public has a hard time arguing against are the Sheriff’s Department, the Fire Department, Hospital and EMT, and our children, not necessarily in that order,” Olson said.

Olson said that of the four projects he mentioned, three are looking at major expenses coming up and asked if the fire district is considering a new fire hall.

“We are in the very, very preliminary stages of exploring how to maximize this building’s footprint and update this building,” said Donnell. “We are not looking at doing that in any way through bonding or the taxpayers.”

Donnell added that the department is working with Rep. Steele to get architectural funding for this year to get a set of plans. Once that is done the next phase can be considered to include possible grant funding.

Jones added that the department’s plan – all contingent on grant funding – would include expansion to house resident volunteers.

Chief Brandon Asher began his report with the introduction of Chelan city councilmember John Higgins as the council’s new liaison with the department.

“We got the DNR Phase 2 grant again,” said Asher. “That’s an $18,000 grant with $16,188 of that provided through the DNR. We have a 10 percent match.” 

The grant pays for specific improvements to the department’s designated Dodge brush truck.

The department has five new recruits who will start academy training in February.

Mike Maltais: 360-333-8483 or michael@ward.media

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