Red, White and Ble Fire Protection District board incumbents re-elected |

Red, White and Ble Fire Protection District board incumbents re-elected

Summit Daily staff report

The three contested seats on the Red, White and Blue Fire Protection District Board of Directors have been won by the three incumbents up for re-election, according to initial counts from the district’s first contested board race in years.

An estimated 326 people cast ballots in the May 8 election, the largest turnout for any election in the district’s history. The vote took on heightened importance after a wildfire scare near Breckenridge last year and a continuing dispute with the district and the county government over EMS services.

“The result of this election sends a message from our citizens that they strongly agree with and support our organization’s direction and methods of providing solid, timely and quality all-hazards emergency response services to this district,” RWB chief Jim Keating said in an email Wednesday. “The district remains open to continuing collaborative discussions with other governmental and emergency response agencies that have the common goal of the improving the quality and depth of emergency services provided to the citizens and guests of our area.”

Incumbent Board President Arch Gothard was re-elected with 170 votes, along with fellow incumbents Ken Wiegand and Dean Lippert, who drew 172 and 220 votes, respectively. All three will serve another four-year term, rejoining fellow incumbents Rich Rafferty and Jim Brook.

Candidate Brian Binge took 139 votes, and Richard Ferris earned 86. The results of the election will not be finalized until next Wednesday, May 16. The three winners will be sworn in during the next regular board meeting on May 24.

Binge and Ferris said they could offer some fresh thinking on the district’s dispute with the county over EMS services, which boiled over last year and nearly saw the district stripped of its authority to run ambulances.

The county government insisted that RWB run more out-of-county ambulance transports, joining a rotation with Summit’s other ambulance providers. The district resisted, arguing that doing so would reduce its response times.

The agencies reached an interim deal pending the results of a study by outside consultants analyzing the county’s ambulance capacity. A draft report is expected to be ready within the next several months.

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