The Cortez Fire Protection District Board unanimously approved the purchase of fire shelters at Wednesday night’s meeting.
The purchase was discussed at March’s board meeting.
During a public comment period on Wednesday night, former Fire Chief Les Rogers, a candidate for the Cortez Fire Protection District Board, brought up the issue.
“If we do not have a shelter issued to everybody, you guys are negligent,” Rogers said. “I personally would hold you responsible as a taxpayer and one who has children on fire departments in Cortez. Find the money, protect these guys.”
During the discussion, Assistant Fire Chief Shawn Bittle and board members said they were seeking grants to purchase the gear.
Rodney Branson brought the issue up under new business and requested that the gear order be finalized by Thursday afternoon. “It is like sending them to fires without a fire hose,” he said.
Kent Lindsay asked Cortez firefighters in attendance to go through the chain of command with their request, but if the issue was not addressed, to take it to the board.
Mimiaga also announced that the fire department has entered into an intergovernmental agreement with the Montezuma County Hospital District in the May 8 election, under the encouragement of the state.
The election will now be held at the Montezuma County Annex, at 107 N. Chestnut St., on May 8 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Three director positions are open, each with four-year terms. The names of the candidates will appear on the ballot in the following order: Sherri Wright (incumbent), Jan Nelson, Bradly Lynn Ray, James Bridgewater, Buck Woodman (incumbent) and Les Rogers.
Lt. Charles Borden reported to the board that the department responded to 190 calls in March, 21 more than in 2017.
Bittle reported on the lockdown and evacuation drill at Montezuma-Cortez High School. “It went really well we evacuated the entire high school in about 20 minutes,” he said.
The board also heard an update on construction of the new fire station from Kyle Blackmer, of Weeminuche Construction Authority. “Masonry veneer has been completed. The metal roofing is completed,” he said. “Drywall hanging in the living quarters is 95 percent complete.”
Blackmer said that although Weeminuche’s contract is through July 8, Weeminuche aims to finish by July 4 so the district can hold a celebration event on the holiday.
Wednesday night’s board meeting also marked Lindsay’s last board meeting. The board thanked him with a personalized jacket and cake, and he received a round of applause for his service.
“Thank you very much. It has been an honor and a privilege to be here, and like I said, at times it has been very frustrating because after you’ve been a firefighter, you don’t leave that behind. But I appreciate this and thank you very much,” Lindsay said.
The board also moved to move its May board meeting to May 16 to swear in members after the election.
The board also called a special meeting on May 18 to announce the names of the candidates to replace former Chief Jeff Vandevoorde, who has retired.
The board then moved into executive session to discuss personnel matters relating to Assistant Chief Shawn Bittle, according to the agenda.