Monthly Archives: June 2013

June 2013 Board Meeting Minutes

MINUTES OF THE WHETSTONE FIRE DISTRICT
BOARD MEETING, June 25th, 2013

Call to Order/Roll Call/Affirmation of Quorum

Chairman Evans called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. The meeting was held in the Whetstone Fire District station classroom, 2422 N Firehouse Lane, Huachuca City, Arizona.

Present: Rick Evans, Chairman
Ken Leffler, Clerk
Jerry Hopper, Board member
Mary Foote, Board member
Wayne Lewis, Board member
Peter Bidon, Fire Chief

Absent:

It was determined a quorum existed with all of the board members present.

Review, Amendment and Possible Approval of Public Session Minutes for May 30th, 2013

Jerry Hopper made the following motion, seconded by Ken Leffler and approved with five ayes:

Move to accept the public session minutes for May 30th, 2013

Call to the Public

One member of the public addressed the board. He wants to know where his tax dollars paid to Whetstone Fire District are going. Rick Evans stated he can get a detailed copy of the Whetstone Fire District budget. Ken Leffler asked what his issue/question is specifically. The member of the public stated his taxes to the fire district are over $1000 a year. After discussing the valuation, location and size of his property Wayne Lewis stated the problem is with the County Assessor not Whetstone Fire. The tax rate for Whetstone Fire District is $2.95 according to Chief Bidon and has not changed in the past five years. Rick Evans stated he lives in the same neighborhood with close to the same valuation and pays $300 (something) for fire district taxes. Rick Evans offered his phone number and stated he would be happy to assist the resident since what he is being charged is not consistent with other neighbors. Chief Bidon stated to the member of the public, Phil (not audible), he can come to the fire station to go over the budget and get a tour of the station any time.

Discussion, Review and Possible Adoption of the Annual Budget for 2013-2014

Chief Bidon stated the budget is the same as the initial draft. The tax rate is still $2.95; the value dropped to 18,089,000. The district added 48 new parcels or buildings but still went down in value though not as bad as many other fire districts. Almost $600,000 in the budget is for grant money and $118,000 for the possible consolidation with PBW.

Ken Leffler made a motion to adopt the 2013-2014 budget as presented and discussed, seconded by Wayne Lewis, approved with five ayes.

Review, Discussion and Possible Approval of the Purchase of Command Vehicle

Chief Bidon presented bids from Ford and Dodge for a command vehicle purchased through the State Procurement Program. Chapman Ford’s bid for a Ford F 350 1-ton at $36,738 was less than the 1-ton Dodge. Chief Bidon recommends the Ford because it is cheaper and consistent with several vehicles already in our fleet. Jerry Hopper asked if we need two command vehicles right now. Rick Evans stated both the command vehicles need to be replaced. Chief Bidon stated the second vehicle can be used for monthly deposits in Bisbee, sending several employees to fire school or when chief is out of the area with his command vehicle instead of personnel using their personal vehicles. Chief Bidon suggests we pay cash for the vehicles instead of using credit. The 2014 vehicles won’t be available until August or September.

Ken Leffler made a motion to purchase two crew cab Ford F-350’s from Chapman Ford as specified in the quote, Mary Foote seconded, approved with five ayes.

Review, Discussion, and Possible Approval of the Financial Report

Chief Bidon said we are still waiting for 130,000 in taxes to come in over the next few days before the end of the fiscal year; we have 59,000 in the bank and he expects to roll over 40 -50 thousand. The goal was to roll over 150,000. The fire district is still averaging around 15,000 a month in ancillary taxes and EMS billing revenues. We will finish the year in the black.

Chief’s Report

Two interfacility’s in May and 64 calls in the month. Four Haz-Mat calls, one was an automatic aid. There was a 26 acre brush fire in PBW from 8 am until 5 pm with over 60 firefighters from other agencies. We set two objectives: to keep the fire out of the River, which we achieved, and out of the junk yard; we lost 20 cars in the junk yard. Four days prior to the brush fire we had a structure fire in PBW. Huachuca City helped us out. We had an IED incident in Huachuca City. There are two new houses being built in the area. We had a major vehicle repair on the command vehicle. Jon Buonaccorsi did the repairs saving us a lot of money. Chief Bidon assisted Huachuca City Fire with hose testing using our NFPA compliant machine.

The EMT class starts tomorrow; four of the students are ours the rest are from outside agencies. Cathy Dyer and Chief Bidon will be attending the AFDA conference in Tucson that starts Thursday. Classes they will be attending are on new rules discussed in legislation for EMS and fire districts and a class on combining all fire district personnel in the state into a health insurance pool for a better/cheaper policy.

Still working on the list for auction items so we can clean up our properties.

Ken Leffler motioned to accept the chief’s report as presented, seconded by Mary Foote and approved with five ayes.

Board Members Comments

Ken Leffler stated a fence needs to be placed around the training property. Chief Bidon said he will work on getting bids.

Wayne Lewis asked if the propane company opened for business. Chief Bidon stated their future goal is to build a show room and work shop.

Jerry Hopper stated he had a heated conversation with someone who works for the City of Sierra Vista who stated the city garage does not want to do business with Whetstone Fire District because we do not pay our bills. Chief Bidon said that is not true, we pay our bills.

Rick Evans stated the many issues with Huachuca City Fire could result in a loss of automatic aid and mutual aid because they are based on reciprocal ability. If Huachuca City does away with the fire department they will have nothing to offer us. Chief Bidon agreed and stated he is watching what is happening with Huachuca City Fire closely. Chief Bidon also stated Huachuca City wants to annex Whetstone but believes the community does not want to be part of Huachuca City and will not allow that to happen.

Adjournment

Wayne Lewis made the following motion, seconded by Jerry Hopper and approved unanimously with five ayes:

Adjourn the meeting.

 

___________________________                                             ____________________________

Chairman Rick Evans                                                                   Diana Jones, Administration

 

May 2013 Board Meeting Minutes

MINUTES OF THE WHETSTONE FIRE DISTRICT
BOARD MEETING, May 30th, 2013

Call to Order/Roll Call/Affirmation of Quorum

Chairman Evans called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. The meeting was held in the Whetstone Fire District station classroom, 2422 N Firehouse Lane, Huachuca City, Arizona.

Present: Rick Evans, Chairman
Ken Leffler, Clerk
Jerry Hopper, Board member
Mary Foote, Board member
Peter Bidon, Fire Chief

Absent: Wayne Lewis, Board member

It was determined a quorum existed with four of the board members present.

Review, Amendment and Possible Approval of Public Session Minutes for March 26th, 2013

Mary Foote made the following motion, seconded by Ken Leffler and approved with five ayes:

Move to accept the public session minutes for March 26th, 2013

Call to the Public

No members of the public wished to address the board.

Discussion and Possible Approval of Donation of Old Equipment

Chief Bidon stated Whetstone Fire District has 20-22 old helmets he would like to donate – with a liability disclaimer – to a couple nonprofit fire departments.

Ken Leffler made a motion to approve the donation, seconded by Jerry Hopper, approved with four ayes.

Discuss and Review the Purchase of Command Vehicle

Chief Bidon stated he would like to postpone this discussion for next month as he contacted the two Ford Dealers in the Arizona State Procurement Program and neither has returned a quote.

Jerry Hopper made a motion to approve the delay in discussion, Mary Foote seconded, approved with four ayes.

Discussion and Review of the Annual Budget

Per Chief Bidon the total annual budget is 1,778,460.00, 590,000.00 is grant money we are applying for. Also added is the tax rate we could potentially collect after the consolidation with PBW and expenses for hiring employees to cover a station in PBW. The Whetstone Fire District tax rate stayed the same, the district lost value down to 18,000,000. No employee raises, no cost of living increase. Still trying to annex Four Pillars area and houses west of Chula Vista.

Ken Leffler asked about the collection rate for ambulance billing. Chief Bidon stated the ambulance revenue is down.

Chief Bidon stated he will try to bring the PBW tax rate up to our current rate for a smoother transition, if allowed by the state. Rick Evans wanted to clarify that it is the County’s role and responsibility to organize and figure out information for the consolidation but they do not have anything to contribute at this time. Whetstone Fire District is doing all the research and leg work for the consolidation. Chief Bidon confirmed Whetstone Fire District is doing 100% of the leg work and research. Ken Leffler stated the only thing of value from PBW is a building and asked if there is any value in the water tank. Chief Bidon stated the tank requires upgrading with pumps. Jerry Hopper asked if we are waiting on the audit and Chief Bidon confirmed. Rick Evans stated the audit could generate new questions.

Mary Foote made a motion to approve the tentative 2013/2014 budget for publishing, seconded by Ken Leffler, approved unanimously with four ayes.

Review, Discussion, and Possible Approval of the Financial Report

Chief Bidon said that while we are waiting for taxes and other deposits to come in records show we are 31,000 into the line of credit but most likely we are not. Jerry Hopper asked what the building payment will put back into our account. Chief Bidon stated 24,000. Jerry Hopper asked if we bill insurance secondary to Medicare. Chief Bidon said if they have a secondary insurance it gets billed. Rick Evans stated many health plans are starting to offer their own Part B substitute not run by the federal government.

Ken Leffler motioned to accept the financial report as presented, seconded by Mary Foote and approved with four ayes.

Chief’s Report

Averaging about 60-62 calls a month, mostly EMS. A few mutual aid and a couple automatic aid calls. We are curbing mutual aid to Benson because they use us to backfill when they go out on state land fires. We were called for assistance with a single wide trailer fire in St. David that occurred at 2:00 in the afternoon. We sent a truck to Benson Fire to cover their fire station; our engine was still at the fire station after 9:00 that night when Chief Bidon told them to return. If there isn’t an emergency we don’t need to be there while they mop up.

Assisted Huachuca City Fire with a bomb threat at the school, and a Huachuca City resident called in an IED in an alley that resulted in evacuation of 50 families. Union Pacific came down under Chief Allmon of Huachuca City Fire and presented a free class at our station about keeping firefighters safe with HazMat. Chief Bidon will instruct a vehicle extrication certification class starting tomorrow for Huachuca City Fire and Whetstone Fire because Huachuca City Fire received a new tool from grant money. Five new volunteers are finishing a mini academy. We will be starting an EMT-A class in about three weeks, it has been offered out to other fire departments. We will start Fire I & II in January. We did an in-home inspection of a day care that is opening up out here and assisted Huachuca City in a school fire. Rick Evans stated the classes we do with other departments count as training toward ISO purposes. He also stated they are okay with the officers making the call on a case by case basis. Ken Leffler stated a couple people out there are against it but being a good neighbor and doing the right thing is approved by the majority.

Board Members Comments

Ken Leffler asked about the plaques for the rock. Chief Bidon stated they are done and the generator is up and works. Ken Leffler would like to see us do something with the vehicles we are not using. Chief Bidon stated he wants to put together a list for board approval and take everything to an auction. What doesn’t sell at the auction will be scrapped. Rick Evans stated that if an outlying fire district sees a list of items going up for auction they might be more inclined to show up than for a single item. Chief Bidon also stated that items can forego auction and be donated to another fire district with board approval. Jerry Hopper stated other fire departments wouldn’t want most of the items anyway. Chief Bidon stated Chiricahua Trails Fire Department doesn’t have anything and they need equipment. Rick Evans stated Chief Bidon has the authority to lend stuff out on a moment’s notice so someone in critical need doesn’t have to go without. Chief Bidon stated that he recently loaned out 400 feet of 1 ½ hose to Huachuca City Fire because they lost some hose during testing and are our automatic aid agency. Ken Leffler asked if we are going to get the hose back. Chief Bidon will present the board with an inventory list of the hose lent to Huachuca City so it can be kept with board approval. Rick Evans stated the board doesn’t need an inventory list of the donated hose just board notification.

Adjournment

Jerry Hopper made the following motion, seconded by Ken Leffler and approved unanimously with four ayes:

Adjourn the meeting.

 

___________________________                                     ____________________________

Chairman Rick Evans                                                                Diana Jones, Administration

 

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