BOARD OF DIRECTORS GUIDELINES
As a fire protection district, Northern Sonoma County Fire is governed by an elected five-person Board of Directors. Anyone residing within the fire district boundaries, and who meets other legal requirements to hold public office, can run for a position on the Board. Elections are conducted every two years; each director serves a four-year term. If you are interested in being a candidate for the Northern Sonoma County Fire Board of Directors, contact the Sonoma County Registrar of Voters.
The Board of Directors conducts regular public meetings, in compliance with the Brown Act, on the 3rd Thursday of each month at 7:00 pm. In addition, the Board occasionally calls for a special meeting and sometimes conducts workshop meetings. Anyone who is interested in how the business of the fire district is conducted is welcome to attend and to comment on any item on the agenda.
Members of the public are welcome to address the Board about any item not on the agenda in the ‘public comment’ portion of each meeting’s agenda. All presentations made under public appearance are normally restricted to three (3) minutes in length per meeting unless the board President specifically authorizes additional time.
Reasonable accommodation will be made at the meeting for anyone having special needs due to disabilities. We request such person contact the Clerk of the Board at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.
Each meeting’s agenda is posted in two locations on the Monday before the regular Board meeting: at GFPD Station 1, 20975 Geyserville Ave and on this this website on the Upcoming Board Meeting page.
Prior to each meeting, a Board packet is assembled, containing documents pertinent to agenda actions items along with copies of the District’s accounts payables, correspondence, and other items of general information for the Board. The Board packet is available for public viewing at GFPD Station1, 20975 Geyserville Ave, by 7 p.m. on the Monday before the Board meeting.
From the California Fire District Handbook:
The Fire Protection District Law of 1987 is the foundation cornerstone of a fire protection district in the State of California and is found under the California Health and Safety Code beginning with Section 13800.
Sometimes referred to as the Bergeson Fire District Law, the Fire District Law of 1987 succeeds the Fire Protection District Law of 1961 as the statutory authorization for formation and delivery of fire services as a special district.
The Fire Protection District law outlines the formation of a fire district, the board of directors, powers of the directors, services that may be provided as well as the rights and powers of the district.
Did you know:
-Members of fire district boards must be a resident and registered voter of the district they serve.
-A quorum is a majority of the elected board. A motion/resolution may be passed only with a majority vote of the total board.
-The county treasurer shall act as the district treasurer unless the board adopts a resolution appointing a district treasurer. If a board appoints a district treasurer, this person must be bonded by the district in the amount of $100,000 or 10% of the total amount of the preceding year’s final budget, whichever is greatest.
- Districts shall have the power to provide services specifically listed with the act. Districts are not mandated to deliver all listed services under section 13862.
- Districts are required to follow all applicable provisions of the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act as it applies to employee (union) membership.
- District directors are eligible for benefit programs so long as the program is in the compliance with Chapter 2 of Part 1 of Division 2 of Title 5 of the Government Code.
- Fire districts must adopt a preliminary budget on or before June 30 of each year and must also publish a notice that such budget is open and available for public inspection. The public must also be notified of the date and time of adoption and must be allowed an opportunity to be heard on any budget prior to adoption.
- Similar notification and provision of opportunities for public review of Gann Limit calculations is also required.
- Boards are required to meet and elect officers within 60 days of each election.
- The Uniform District Election law, Part 3 23509 allows newly elected Board members to take office on the first Friday of December following their election.
- There is nothing in the law which requires districts to follow Roberts Rules of Order when conducting meetings and doing business.
- The Fire District Law of 1987 specifically speaks to a number of methods for obtaining and/or raising revenue. These methods are:
a. Levy of voter-approved special tax
b. Levy of special tax pursuant to Community Facilities Act (Mello-Roos CFA of 1982)
c. Levy of special tax for fire and police protection
d. Levy of assessment for fire suppression services
e. Levy of assessments to finance capital improvements Please note:
With the passage of Proposition 218 in November 1996, the authority of fire districts to levy assessments as an alternative revenue source appears to have been removed. Districts should consult with legal counsel as to the legality of levying any new assessments or fees under Proposition 218.
Additional revenue sources commonly used to offset actual costs of service provisions are fees. The board may adopt a schedule of fees to be charged. It is possible to charge different fee rates to different group types such as taxpayers vs. non-taxpayers. Fees may be charged to other government agencies.
(Fire Districts of California, Fire District Handbook)