Fire District Commissioner Meeting
Opening Prayer: Roger called the meeting was called to order at 8:04. Dallin Gambles was asked to offer the opening prayer. Those present were: Commissioners Jim Deuel, Roger Anderson, Mike Miller, Gordon Ball, and Dallin Gambles; Fire Chief Bryan Grover and Assistant Fire Chief Carl Anderson; Battalion Chiefs Blaine Ker, Jim Kelly, Corey Albertson standing in for Nic White, and Mitch Bingham. Fire district attorney Dennis Wilkinson attended the meeting. Melanie Sullivan recorded the minutes. There were several patrons present.
Agenda Approval: Jim moved to amend the agenda to include Jill Peterson under new business. Gordon seconded. The vote by Jim, Mike, Dallin, Roger, and Gordon was unanimous.
Minutes: The minutes were reviewed previously by the commissioners. Dallin moved to approve the minutes from last month. Gordon seconded. The vote by Jim, Mike, Dallin, Roger, and Gordon was unanimous.
Budget Review: Melanie reviewed the budget, indicating there while there were some budget categories where the budget is over where we would expect it to see at this time in the fiscal year, there were some budget categories that were under. The budget includes the capital expense budget, which is very under budget, but will get somewhat used as the Menan fire station gets underway. Jim moved to accept the budget review. Mike seconded. The vote by Jim, Mike, Dallin, Roger, and Gordon was unanimous.
Approval of Expenditures: Jim reviewed the expenditures. He is reviewing with Bryan why printer ink invoices are so much. Jim moved to accept the expenditures. Dallin seconded. The vote by Jim, Mike, Dallin, Roger, and Gordon was unanimous.
Patron Input (3 minute time limit):
Andi Elliot: She has some questions about the fire academy: She was informed that Emmitsburg is the only Fire Academy training center that FEMA reimburses costs, with the exception of a 6-day meal ticket.
Doug Stevenson: Last month he brought up an issue with record keeping at the stations. Bryan looked into the allegation from last month meeting and found that the payroll part was adjusted to more properly reflect who responded and who did not but that the medical part of the report was not altered. Doug is concerned with morale when there is discord among some of the personnel. Doug’s wondering who he can go to if he has issues. Blaine says that he needs to go through the chain of command so the issues can be addressed before they end up in front of commissioners in a public forum. Dallin suggested that Doug write a letter and send it up through the chain of command until he gets resolution. Dennis reminded us that the commissioner meeting is not a place to discuss personnel issues.
Fred Martinez, County Commissioner: He mentioned the house fire on the butte. He is concerned that there is insensitivity on the job when pictures of burning homes are put on Facebook with smiling faces. There is a policy in the fire district to not post pictures, but the fire district has no control of what other organizations, such as the news, may have posted on the internet. There was a general consensus that a firefighter might use a smile to help deal with the mental anguish of fighting fires. Jim encouraged the leadership to talk to their volunteers about making sure that the gravity of a fire is remembered.
- Shay Hartwell senior project – fire cadet program: Shay, along with Mike, Jim, and Roger, talked to the principal of Rigby High School. The principal approved the junior firefighter program. Now Shay will be working on developing the curriculum.
- EMS report concerns: Bryan looked into it and for now they will put lock boxes in the stations for reports. They will continue working on getting a computer program, such as Adobe Acrobat that will help solve the problem.
- Emmitsburg recap (fire academy): Mitch reported that there were six people who went to the training. It was a great learning experience about leadership, volunteers, retention, etc.
Carl said he learned a lot about budgeting, disciplinary forms and information, and so much more.
This academy is paid through FEMA. The only thing the fire district has to cover was $21/day for food. Carl says that there are classes for everybody, from firefighters to different levels of leadership. Those who are accepted to go have to be qualified to attend. The students also take a test at the end of the class and if he/she does not pass the class, the individual has to pay for it.
- Budget discussion – upcoming major purchases: Bryan says that they do not have a prices for trucks yet. He says he can purchase through the state list that has already been bid out.
Jim explained that the money for the Menan building has already been saved up and that the levy rate will not be affected by the building of the Menan building. In the past seven years, Central Fire district has never taken the full amount that it can legally levy for. Neither has it gone over the approved budget in that time. If an individual’s tax bill goes up, it has not been because of Central Fire District, but there are many taxing districts in the county.
- Idaho Department of Lands: Justin Kidd is the area fire warden and came to discuss the process for burn permits. Outside of a municipality or a city, a fire district can take the responsibility of giving permission to burn or they can turn the responsibility over to the Idaho Department of Lands and the burn permit system. The permits are to ensure compliance with the Department of Environmental Quality and to also make sure that conditions are safe for burning. Central Fire does have a process in place to help people know when and what they can burn. The person wanting to burn can call dispatch to get permission. This is, in part, to make the fire district aware that a controlled burn is taking place and fire personnel do not need to be called out and also to prevent burns in unsafe conditions. The Idaho Department of Lands is willing to help out to educate people on burn requirements.
- Architect presentation – Graham Whipple: Graham has been getting the engineering starting on the Menan building after getting the floor plan approved. Mike and Graham did a presentation to the Menan City Counsel and were well received.
Fred Martinez asked why the old Menan building has to be demolished. Mike explained that the building is old and that it would cost more to refurbish the building than to build new. The building is also partially lying on an adjacent property.
Graham is working to get the engineering done. He is targeting to be ready for bidding by the end of July. He will also be working with the municipalities on building regulations.
- Jill Peterson: She asked questions about the Menan fire station in an effort to find out for herself if the estimated cost of $900,000 for the Menan fire station is justifiable. Bryan asks that she compare the estimated price of the proposed building to other comparable fire stations. Jill is concerned that the Ririe station went over budget by $150,000 and wants to make sure that the construction of the Menan building does not go over budget. Roger says that the fire district has a responsibility to their patrons to spend the money wisely. Jill also asked about whether the fire cadet program at the high school has a person overseeing the program. The program has not gone so far as to assign a person to oversee the program.
FIRE CHIEF REPORT: Bryan reports that the fire calls were down last month. The QRU was really busy with several concurrent calls. Several attended fire school. The parking lot has been resurfaced under warranty. Roger asks that Bryan and Carl keep after procuring a water truck for Ririe and a brush truck. These trucks have been budgeted to be replacement.
ASST. CHIEF REPORT: Carl reported on the big fire on the Menan butte. He gave a press release on the fire. He has been out on the fire scene several times since and reports that the homeowners really appreciate the job done on the fire.
Carl said that something he learned while at Emmitsburg is to find out from previous fire victims what the district could have done better so that the district can always be improving.
They are involved in a lot of planning for the solar eclipse. Idaho Falls ambulance would like to bring an ambulance up here so that they don’t have to fight traffic if there is a call. Idaho Falls is asking that Jefferson County cover the cost of having an ambulance up here during the eclipse. That cost needs to be discussed with the county commissioners. It is possible that this could be paid for through Homeland Security money. Carl will check into that further.
Station 1. Jim reported 63 EMS and 4 fire calls. They responded to a carbon monoxide call. He is very thankful for the quality equipment that protects the lives of the firefighters. They are expecting two new firefighters and a new EMT just passed his tests. He defended the responders apparent positive reactions when on a call, knowing how mentally taxing many calls are and how difficult they are to deal with.
Station 2. Blaine: 1 fire call and 14 EMS calls. They responded to a drug overdose.
Station 3. Corey: 6 EMS calls and no fire calls. A couple of guys have passed the EMT course and are waiting to take the national test.
Station 4. 4 EMS calls, no fire calls. Responded to a fire on the butte in this current month.
Roger wanted to thank the EMTs from station 2 for responding to a call at his house.
Jim said he realizes that it is not the commissioners who serve the public, but it is the volunteers and he is grateful for them.
Roger-EMS & Training/Gordon-Equipment /Dallin-Facilities/Jim-Budget/Mike-PR
Mike moved to adjourn. Gordon seconded. The meeting was adjourned at 9:50.