Sharon Wilber, a longtime member of the town’s volunteer fire department, on December 10 became the first woman ever elected to serve as a commissioner of the Woodstock Fire District, which oversees the finances and operations of the department, including its annual budget.
In a closely contested election, Wilber defeated Sandy Todd, who was also vying to become the district’s first female commissioner, by a tally of 116 votes to 93. When she takes office on January 1, Wilber will fill a vacancy on the Board of Fire Commissioners (BFC) created by the retirement of James Brunner, a 15-year member of the board and its chair since 2011.
The BFC’s five members each serve a term of five years. The board is responsible for the creation and adoption of the fire district’s budget, which for 2014 amounts to $1.26 million, reflecting a tax increase of 1.86 percent. The budget is subject neither to voter approval nor modification by the Town Board.
In a campaign statement Wilber reported that in April 2014 she will complete 20 years of service in the fire department. She has been a member of Company No. 5, the rescue squad, throughout her tenure and currently holds the rank of first lieutenant in that company. The commissioner-elect has also been a member of Company No. 3, based in Lake Hill.
“Those of you who know me know that I’m always approachable,” said Wilber in the statement. “I will be ready to listen and learn from both Woodstock residents and members of the Woodstock Fire Department, so that I can take action on your concerns and watch over how our tax dollars are spent. I will make certain that our budget is efficient and well-managed.”
According to Judy Peters, who is secretary and treasurer of the fire district, the BFC is likely to choose a new chair at an organizational meeting on January 2. In addition to the departing Brunner, whose term expires at the end of the year, the current fire commissioners are Donald Allen, Peter Carberry, Mike Lourenso, and Trevor Paton.