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From the Chief: 2019 Budget & Year in Review

Nov 15, 2018

bryan collinsWith the end of 2018 in sight, SVFD staff has been diligently working to prepare our 2019 budget for final review and adoption by the Board of Fire Commissioners. This effort, which has been ongoing since August, will once again fund the necessary personnel and Capital improvements to continue to provide the excellent level of service our communities deserve.

I am pleased to report that the 2019 Budget was adopted by the Board of Fire Commissioners earlier this week. The adopted budget totals $38,401,807 and is a 2.3 percent increase over the 2018 approved budget. The 2019 spending plan allows for the acquisition of property for a new fleet maintenance and repair facility, a fire station remodel and the continued capital replacement of fire apparatus and equipment in alignment with our capital improvement plan. Of course, the budget also contains the necessary funding to maintain the department operations including the hiring and onboarding of 12 new recruits to replace retiring firefighters. We appreciate the input many of you added to our process this year through your participation in our Strategic Plan which provided valuable feedback about the service levels and expectations of our community for our Department. Read more about our 2019 Budget. 

Looking back on 2018, SVFD accomplished a number of important goals. Early in the year, we set out to update our five-year community-driven Strategic Plan which included amazing input from 70 community stakeholders. The Strategic Plan was completed by mid-year and provides the department with goals to take us through 2023. Ten initiatives were included in the plan and staff is currently beginning work on the first three. Read our 2018-2023 Strategic Plan.

The summer wildland fire season ended in October and I’m pleased to say that the residents of SVFD weathered the season with a minimum number of significant fires and damage. Credit to all those in our community for being extra careful and mindful of fire danger and the damage it can cause. The Western U.S. has experienced an unparalleled increase in wildland fires and destruction over the past few years. As I write this article, the State of California is experiencing its most damaging fire season ever as over 7,000 structures have burned and dozens of residents have lost their lives. It seems to be the new normal for the West, so your continued diligence will be needed in the years to come.

Also this year, SVFD implemented some operational changes that should serve the community well in the future. The most notable was the implementation of an “alternative response unit” (ARU) to serve the fastest growing segment of our call volume which is non-life threatening emergency medical calls. The ARU is a two-person unit operating 12 hours a day, five days a week during our busiest hours. Its implementation not only reduces wear and tear on our larger fire engines and ladder trucks, but also keeps those units available for more serious medical calls and fires.

That’s it for this month, as always we truly appreciate the support that you continue to provide us!

Take care, and be safe!

~Fire Chief Bryan Collins

Did you Know?


  • You can sign up for a station tour. Great for small groups.
  • You should replace the batteries in your smoke alarms twice a year.
  • Creating a defensible space with regards to wildfires could just save your home or property.

Media Contact

  • Julie Happy
  • 509-892-4155

Commissioner Patrick Burch

Board Member Since: July 18, 2016
Current term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Burch was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in July 2016 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. He became a volunteer member of the Department’s CERT Team in 2008 and later served as a team leader/member of Fire Corps.

“I admire the Spokane Valley Fire Department’s focus on continuous improvement. Our dedication to the community, fiscal responsibility and the fact that we are one of the few accredited fire departments in the State of Washington all make SVFD great!”

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Burch was elected by voters in November 2017.

Commissioner Mike Kester

Board Member Since: January 1, 2020
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2025

Commissioner Mike Kester was elected to the Board of Fire Commissioners in November, 2019.

Commissioner Kester grew up in the Spokane area and has a deep appreciation for just how fortunate we all are to live in this beautiful area. He believes that being involved in this community is not something to take lightly.

His background includes joining the United States Coast Guard (U.S.C.G) after high school and serving on a port firefighting boat doing search and rescue in Portland, Oregon.  After the Coast Guard, he attended the University of Montana earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Resource Management.  He then went on to work for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, serving in their Parks Department.

Spokane was the next step in his career. He  went to work for the Burlington Santa Fe Railroad and the next 22 years was spent as a conductor moving freight. Commissioner Kester  retired in 2010 after a workplace injury and now,  he and his wife enjoy making meals for World War II Veterans, helping out at the YMCA ,and providing meals for those in need.

“In the 25 years of being a resident of the Spokane Valley the professionalism of the SVFD has inspired me to take an active part in bettering our community. We have one of the best fire departments in the whole Pacific Northwest. My wife and I have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. I have dedicated my life to keeping them safe.  I want to apply that dedication to our community.  Keeping us all safe is a goal we should all aspire to in one way or another. Communication within the department and with the public is, and always will be one of my primary goals.”

Commissioner John Guarisco

Board Member since: August 27, 2018
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2027

Commissioner Guarisco was appointed to the Board of Fire Commissioners in August 2018 to fill an unexpired term and has served continuously since that time. Commissioner Guarisco founded Marjoni Marketing in 2004 and in 2010 merged with MDI marketing. He then pursued Real Estate, earning his license and now, currently serves the greater Spokane area as a licensed Realtor. He has long been active in the community and has won numerous awards during his career including the Volunteer of the Year (2014) and the Community Caring Award (2010) from the Greater Spokane Valley Chamber of Commerce.  He is a member of the Greater Spokane Valley Rotary Club and holds an AA degree from Spokane Falls Community College.

Note: As the individual appointed to this non-partisan position, Commissioner Guarisco was elected by voters in November 2019.

Commissioner Bill Anderson

Board Member since: January 1, 2000
Current six year term expires: December 31, 2023

Commissioner Anderson served our community as a Spokane Valley Fire Department firefighter for 29 years. Throughout his career, he worked as a firefighter, dispatcher and engineer before he was promoted and became an officer. He was Station Captain of Millwood Station 2 when he retired in 1999. During his years as firefighter, he was an active leader of Spokane Valley Firefighters Local 876 and served as a trustee on the Washington State Council of Firefighters for 25 years.

“It’s important to me that we continue the good service we’ve always given the people. We’ve accomplished a lot and are pulling in the same direction to get better. I’m very proud of the Spokane Valley Fire Department.”

Commissioner Brian Asmus

Board Member Since: June 14, 2021
Current term expires: 

Commissioner Brian Asmus was appointed to the Spokane Valley Fire Department Board of Fire Commissioners in 2021.

Commissioner Asmus is the former Liberty Lake Police Chief and current Director of Safety and Security at Central Valley School District (CVSD).

“Brian Asmus brings extensive Public Safety leadership experience, and a long history of being actively engaged in his community to his new role as a SVFD Commissioner,” said SVFD Fire Chief, Bryan Collins. “During his time as a Police Chief, Brian interacted with SVFD firefighters and administrators on a regular basis, making him very familiar with our structure, standing within our communities, as well as with many of our current SVFD board members and personnel. Brian’s experience working and collaborating on regional issues aligns nicely with SVFD’s philosophy and will help us continue to be a catalyst for local and regional excellence and innovation.”