County names first East Fork Fire board
Minden, Nev. — The first board to govern the East Fork Fire District was appointed by Douglas County commissioners on Tuesday.
Kenneth Garber, Barbara Griffin, Bernie Curtis, Jacques Etchegoyhen and Steve Mihelic received unanimous votes, according to East Fork Fire Chief Tod Carlini.
Garber has 35 years of experience in emergency medical services. Curtis and Etchegoyhen served together on the Douglas County planning and county commissions. Griffin was Douglas County Clerk-Treasurer for 21 years.
Three candidates withdrew from consideration, including East Fork’s first fire chief, Bill Driscoll, Commission Chairman Doug Johnson and retired GE engineer Gary Sozzi.
County commissioners met through the day on Tuesday to come to their conclusion.
“The commissioners put a lot of effort into this,” Carlini said.
The five board members will replace the county commission, which has governed the district since it was formed in April 1981.
The separation will not affect the current tax rate. The district’s tax rate is 48.74 cents per $100 assessed valuation. Due to the tax cap, the district would have to negotiate with several other governments to alter that rate.
But it will add a new board to the ballot in 2018 when the first fire board members stand for election. All five will have been elected as a result of the 2020 election.
East Fork Fire District covers 96 percent of Douglas County’s land area, including the Carson Range and into the Tahoe Basin, according to Carlini. That portion is served by the Tahoe Douglas Fire District under contract. There are 42,000 residents in the district.
It was founded to fund the original volunteer fire departments that served communities outside the Lake Tahoe basin.
The original eight fire volunteer departments were Genoa, Fish Springs, Topaz Ranch Estates, Topaz Lake, Sheridan Acres, Johnson Lane, the Gardnerville Ranchos and Douglas County Engine Company No. 1.
Gardnerville wasn’t part of the East Fork Fire District until 1987, when the town of Gardnerville contracted with the district to operate the fire department. By 1989 the merger was complete.