Lacey voters liking expanded fire board

LACEY - Voters who live in the newly expanded Lacey Fire District No. 3 likely approved a plan to expand the fire commission board to five from three members, according to an initial ballot tally released Tuesday night by the Thurston County Auditor's Office.

As of Tuesday night, the expansion proposal was leading with 56.76 percent of the vote to 43.24 percent against, the tally showed. Of 11,028 ballots cast, 6,260 voted in favor of expansion, compared with 4,768 against.

Commissioner Skip Houser and Fire District Chief Jim Broman recently said the proposal is the right thing to do because it meets the requirements of a recent voter-approved annexation of the City of Lacey into the fire district. As a result, the population represented by the board has grown to 85,600 from 46,350, according to fire district data.

In addition to Houser, the board members are Eugene Dobry, elected in November 2009, and John Christiansen, elected in November 2007. Houser has served on the commission since 1985.

Here’s how the board will be reshaped:

 • First, the three sitting fire commissioners will appoint a qualified person to fill one vacant position.

 • Next, the four commissioners will appoint a fifth commissioner.

If the four commissioners can’t agree on an appointee, the decision falls to the Thurston County commissioners.

Once the two new members are seated, they will draw lots to determine their respective terms. One of the newly formed commissioner positions will be open for election in the 2011 fire district election, along with one of the current commissioners. The other new post will be up for grabs in 2013, as will that of another of the current commissioners. The fifth commissioner position will be filled in the 2015 election. Elected commissioners serve six-year terms.

Elected officials serving on junior taxing districts will earn $104 per each day they perform fire district business, up to a limit of about $10,000 per year.