The decades-old discussion about merging Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue and Kitsap County Fire District 12 could come to some fruition next month.District 12 Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Muhleman said he planned to mail a letter yesterday to the CKFR board asking to discuss the possibility of merging the all-volunteer, Chico-area district into Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue.While talk of combining the two districts have been on-going, District 12 in the past always declined merging with Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue. Muhleman said a merger has been a long time coming. Today, really, District 12 is the last remaining all-volunteer district, he said. We could continue to operate like we have been for years. (But) it's probably time to get into the 21st century and have better utilization of things we do.Some CKFR commissioners wondered about the sudden change of heart.We have to evaluate what they bring to the table, besides apparatus and more volunteers, said CKFR Chief Dick West. I don't know if they have any money. The board will not give any approval until I have gone through all of their records. We can't take on a department that's not at least in the black.District 12 recently acquired new tender trucks, built a new station and remodeled an existing facility. The money has to be coming out of their operating budget. It couldn't be coming from anywhere else, West said.Muhleman said the region's growth has made it tougher to run the district with volunteers, making a merger look like a financial boost to the agency through better insurance rates and the availability of an administration currently on the payroll at CKFR.It's getting difficult to meet all the demands of the government and needs of the community with an all-volunteer district, he said. Merging could reduce District 12's fire rating and lower insurance premiums.Because the administrative duties of volunteer stations are equivalent to those of career stations, Muhleman said it would behoove District 12 to merge into CKFR. CKFR has the infrastructure in place for full-time administration, he said. Being able to put our resources together results in a better district, he added.District 12 already contracts with CKFR for emergency medical service and vehicle maintenance. And they joined forces to build a fire station on Seabeck Highway near Newberry Hill Road in 1998.Muhleman expects there will be mixed reactions from volunteers at District 12. It's always emotional, especially at 100 percent volunteer. It's a family ... it's a close-knit group. When you're going to a larger organization, you lose some identity, he said. Regardless of whether District 12 and CKFR commissioners agree to merge, voters ultimately will have to approve it. CKFR Commissioner John Wilkins, Sr., said the move comes too late in the year to put on the 2000 ballot. To me, November puts a lot on our staff - on both staffs, he said.If CKFR commissioners agree to go ahead with a merger with District 12, staff will be directed to carry out evaluations similar to what they are currently doing with the Bremerton Fire Department. Division captains will meet to see how each district runs their divisions to see how feasible integration would be.Just making the decision to merge is like making the decision to marry. Marrying is the easy part, West said. " "/> The decades-old discussion about merging Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue and Kitsap County Fire District 12 could come to some fruition next month.District 12 Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Muhleman said he planned to mail a letter yesterday to the CKFR board asking to discuss the possibility of merging the all-volunteer, Chico-area district into Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue.While talk of combining the two districts have been on-going, District 12 in the past always declined merging with Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue. Muhleman said a merger has been a long time coming. Today, really, District 12 is the last remaining all-volunteer district, he said. We could continue to operate like we have been for years. (But) it's probably time to get into the 21st century and have better utilization of things we do.Some CKFR commissioners wondered about the sudden change of heart.We have to evaluate what they bring to the table, besides apparatus and more volunteers, said CKFR Chief Dick West. I don't know if they have any money. The board will not give any approval until I have gone through all of their records. We can't take on a department that's not at least in the black.District 12 recently acquired new tender trucks, built a new station and remodeled an existing facility. The money has to be coming out of their operating budget. It couldn't be coming from anywhere else, West said.Muhleman said the region's growth has made it tougher to run the district with volunteers, making a merger look like a financial boost to the agency through better insurance rates and the availability of an administration currently on the payroll at CKFR.It's getting difficult to meet all the demands of the government and needs of the community with an all-volunteer district, he said. Merging could reduce District 12's fire rating and lower insurance premiums.Because the administrative duties of volunteer stations are equivalent to those of career stations, Muhleman said it would behoove District 12 to merge into CKFR. CKFR has the infrastructure in place for full-time administration, he said. Being able to put our resources together results in a better district, he added.District 12 already contracts with CKFR for emergency medical service and vehicle maintenance. And they joined forces to build a fire station on Seabeck Highway near Newberry Hill Road in 1998.Muhleman expects there will be mixed reactions from volunteers at District 12. It's always emotional, especially at 100 percent volunteer. It's a family ... it's a close-knit group. When you're going to a larger organization, you lose some identity, he said. Regardless of whether District 12 and CKFR commissioners agree to merge, voters ultimately will have to approve it. CKFR Commissioner John Wilkins, Sr., said the move comes too late in the year to put on the 2000 ballot. To me, November puts a lot on our staff - on both staffs, he said.If CKFR commissioners agree to go ahead with a merger with District 12, staff will be directed to carry out evaluations similar to what they are currently doing with the Bremerton Fire Department. Division captains will meet to see how each district runs their divisions to see how feasible integration would be.Just making the decision to merge is like making the decision to marry. Marrying is the easy part, West said. "">The decades-old discussion about merging Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue and Kitsap County Fire District 12 could come to some fruition next month.District 12 Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Muhleman said he planned to mail a letter yesterday to the CKFR board asking to discuss the possibility of merging the all-volunteer, Chico-area district into Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue.While talk of combining the two districts have been on-going, District 12 in the past always declined merging with Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue. Muhleman said a merger has been a long time coming. Today, really, District 12 is the last remaining all-volunteer district, he said. We could continue to operate like we have been for years. (But) it's probably time to get into the 21st century and have better utilization of things we do.Some CKFR commissioners wondered about the sudden change of heart.We have to evaluate what they bring to the table, besides apparatus and more volunteers, said CKFR Chief Dick West. I don't know if they have any money. The board will not give any approval until I have gone through all of their records. We can't take on a department that's not at least in the black.District 12 recently acquired new tender trucks, built a new station and remodeled an existing facility. The money has to be coming out of their operating budget. It couldn't be coming from anywhere else, West said.Muhleman said the region's growth has made it tougher to run the district with volunteers, making a merger look like a financial boost to the agency through better insurance rates and the availability of an administration currently on the payroll at CKFR.It's getting difficult to meet all the demands of the government and needs of the community with an all-volunteer district, he said. Merging could reduce District 12's fire rating and lower insurance premiums.Because the administrative duties of volunteer stations are equivalent to those of career stations, Muhleman said it would behoove District 12 to merge into CKFR. CKFR has the infrastructure in place for full-time administration, he said. Being able to put our resources together results in a better district, he added.District 12 already contracts with CKFR for emergency medical service and vehicle maintenance. And they joined forces to build a fire station on Seabeck Highway near Newberry Hill Road in 1998.Muhleman expects there will be mixed reactions from volunteers at District 12. It's always emotional, especially at 100 percent volunteer. It's a family ... it's a close-knit group. When you're going to a larger organization, you lose some identity, he said. Regardless of whether District 12 and CKFR commissioners agree to merge, voters ultimately will have to approve it. CKFR Commissioner John Wilkins, Sr., said the move comes too late in the year to put on the 2000 ballot. To me, November puts a lot on our staff - on both staffs, he said.If CKFR commissioners agree to go ahead with a merger with District 12, staff will be directed to carry out evaluations similar to what they are currently doing with the Bremerton Fire Department. Division captains will meet to see how each district runs their divisions to see how feasible integration would be.Just making the decision to merge is like making the decision to marry. Marrying is the easy part, West said. " "/> CKFR hesitates on merger with District 12 - Central Kitsap Reporter

Letter to the Editor


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CKFR hesitates on merger with District 12  
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