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CVFD Trustees hold on chief's report, form analysis committee

By Lauren Maschmedt, KTVM Anchor, lmaschmedt@ktvm.com
Published On: Jan 09 2013 01:09:11 AM MST
Updated On: Jan 09 2013 01:09:50 AM MST
BELGRADE, Mont. -

Central Valley Fire Chief Ron Lindroth thinks CVFD needs to hire more paid staff, to help the volunteer department run more smoothly.

He spent months analyzing the department, and figuring out where they could make improvements- then compiled recommendations into a report.

But some of those recommendations caused a controversy.

"There's no reason that we need to go this drastic" said Tim Anderson, a former fire fighter and Belgrade business owner.

Anderson said he has an issue if taxes get raised down the road, and doesn't like the report's call to eliminate Assistant Chief Brian Crandell's position.

"It's just a very poor idea" Anderson said. He also said the plan to hire more paid staff didn't make sense to him from an operational standpoint.

Being a volunteer department allows fire fighters to respond to several calls at once, whereas being a city department limits how and where they can respond, he said.

On tuesday night, he and others urged the CVFD Board of Trustees to hold off on making a decision to implement the analysis.

Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin spoke, too. He said he didn't have any opinions on the report itself, but wondered how it "could impact the way that we do business in the incident command part of it."

Sheriff Gootkin requested he and Chief Lindroth meet one-on-one to discuss the influence on incident command operations.

Some who spoke gave their support.

"I see it as being the same kind of combination department as we've always had" said Gene Spranget, former Chairman of the Board.

Trustees did decide to hold off, and instead formed a committee. They decided to appoint a city rep, trustee Gil Moore, Chief Lindroth, fire fighter laison and a local business representative.

They gave the committee 60 days to come up with their own analysis that will address the public's main concerns and make any new recommendations.

Chief Lindroth said he wanted to "let everybody know that we will be financially sound, and we will be a very strong combination department."

He said he thinks the main issues will get ironed out once the committee has a chance to look things over.

Once the details are worked out, he hopes his plan is adopte. "We will provide excellent services to our community" Cheif Lindroth said.

And folks like Anderson hope so too. "I think a committee is a great solution" he said.

Any meeting the committee holds will be public, and they invite anyone interested to attend and make comments.

Trustees hope that by their March 12th meeting, they can have the committee's input and make a decision from there.