By Polly Keary, Editor
Seven years of helping the Monroe Fire Department plan its budget and its growth aren’t enough for Marc Inman. He’s running for another six year term, and since he is running unopposed, he’s virtually guaranteed to get it.
It isn’t always exciting, but it’s an important job, said Inman.
“Basically we are there to help monitor and track the day-to-day workings of the management of the fire department,” he said.
Every quarter, he and the other commissioners review the annual budget and try to help the department stay on track and adjust to changes.
“These last couple years it’s been more than once a quarter because of the challenges of the economy,” said Inman.
A big part of being a fire commissioner is helping the district plan well into the future. And that can be challenging, too, said Inman.
Eventually, the district is going to need another station, he said. So three years ago, the commission hired a team of architects to help them identify the best place to build.
“Our problem is, our main station is on the south of Highway 2 and we have a lot more growth on the north side,” said Inman. “Station 32 on the north side is a fairly small station. Our hopes were to increase presence on the other side of the road.”
The downturn in the economy put a damper on expansion plans, and solving the problem of how to increase fire protection on the other side of the highway is one of the things Inman will tackle in his next term.
Another is finding funding for new equipment as needed. The last several years, that hasn’t been easy, he said.
“We have a capital budget of so many dollars that we have to spread out, and we saved that over the last couple of years, knowing we would need to buy some apparatus and we didn’t know which away the economy was going,” said Inman. “Fortunately the public was very supportive when we had our levy, so we were able to release those funds to get the equipment we need; an ambulance, a new truck because our old one is on its last legs.”
Inman, a mechanical engineer who first successfully applied to the commission when he saw an ad in the paper saying that a replacement was needed for a departing commissioner, said that business experience isn’t necessary, but common sense is.
“We are fortunate that our upper management is very good at managing what is essentially a business,” said Inman. “They are very good at tracking expenditures. They treat it like it’s coming out of their own pocket. We are always looking to keep costs down.”
He said that, even though it’s not always exciting as the work that the firefighters do, being a fire commissioner is worth the time and effort.
“The community has been very good to me,” he said. “I thought it was a good way to give back.”