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TUD Declares Fire Emergency And Will Hire Hanvelt As Consultant

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The Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors has voted to declare a local State of Emergency due to the imminent threat of high fire danger.

The County of Tuolumne earlier took a similar action. The item up for debate at this week’s TUD meeting ended up being somewhat contentious, and the final vote was 3-2. Board members Barbara Balen and Ron Ringen were the two votes in opposition. Balen argued that the agenda item was misleading.

The meeting packet information noted that as part of the move TUD would be joining the Yosemite Stanislaus Solutions group, a collaborative group of local organizations and interests, and District GM Edwin Pattison was also planning to bring in former Tuolumne County Supervisor Randy Hanvelt as a consultant to help the district seek out grant funding related to reducing fire risk.

A member of the public asked about the cost to the district of hiring Hanvelt as a consultant, and Pattison said he would spend $10,000 – $15,000 over the next six months, and then gauge the results. Board Chair Bob Rucker praised Hanvelt and said Tuolumne County was very fortunate to have his expertise. Board member Ron Kopf spoke about the need to be proactive about fire prevention and not reactive.  The board voted in favor of the resolution, 3-2, with Kopf, Rucker and Jeff Kerns in support.

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