May Fire Board Meeting Minutes

Garden City Fire District

Board Meeting

May 15, 2014


Board Members in Attendance:  Perry Wakefield, Randall Knight, Howard Pope, Brian House

Others in Attendance:  Mike Wahlberg, Tiffany Wahlberg, Anita Weston, Chris Coray

 Meeting was opened for public comment.  Chris Coray asked if the pipes in Sweetwater caused cavitation in the pumps when fighting the fire in Sweetwater.  Mike stated that it did.  The pipe is a 4” pipe.  A 6-8” pipe is recommended.  Mike said that it did affect the flow, however, it would not have affected the outcome.

Approval of Past Minutes:  Motion to approve the March minutes.  Second by Randall, vote was unanimous.  Tiffany asked about the April minutes.  The meeting was held, however, everything was tabled for this meeting.  Tiffany will ask Christina for the brief minutes.

 Items for Follow-Up:

Policies and procedures: Leave, Per diem, and Holidays (Randall):  Randall sent out a draft copy of amended policies and procedures.  Brian had sent him comments.  Howard said that he felt that the sick leave being included could be an issue for a future chief.  Perry stated that the vote held in March was very close.  The board at that time felt that for tracking purposes this would be easier.  If the policy is being abused in the future, then it could be revisited at that time.  In the original policy, sick leave accrued with no limit.  The board felt that a limit should be set that would be reasonable.  Perry stated that he had read the manual, however it is a long read and there is a lot of redundancy.  He feels that it would be best to have someone who has experience writing manuals such as this look at it.  There are many policies the board should look at.  Mike should also look at some of the policies for the volunteers.  There was a case where a county sued a fire district and it became a conflict for the county attorney to represent both entities.  The state has now regulated that the county attorney cannot represent the local and special service districts.  Randall would like to see the fee for inspections be clarified.  Brian would like to see the board contact BRAG to see if they have anyone who would be able to assist.  They may also be able to refer the district to an attorney.  Randall said that he could contact LeGrand Bitter with Local and Special and Service District or Ryan with the state auditor’s office.  Mike and Randall will follow up with looking for an attorney who is familiar with special service districts.  Brian House suggested that once an attorney is retained, the communication should go through the fire chief and/or chairman rather than individual board members.

Items for discussion:

Ride for Riley Benefit Lunch.  August 16th, 2014  (Mike):  There will be roughly 400 bikers riding from Riverdale to Preston and then back to Riverdale for this fundraiser.  They will be stopping in Garden City for lunch and would like some assistance from the fire district.  Mike offered the use of the grills and possibly some firefighters to assist.  There should be minimal to no cost to the district.  Howard requested that Mike ask the association to be in charge as much as possible. There may be some issues with food handling permits, etc.  Chris Coray asked Mike to get him the information so that he could put it in the paper.  Brian suggested that they contact the local restaurants to see if they would be willing to help out.  Randall asked why the parking lot and/or city offices were being considered over the park.  Mike said that the park was already reserved.

Additional Acceptances to the NFA in Emmetsburg, MA (Mike):  Mike Wahlberg and Andrew Stokes have been accepted from the alternate list.  The cost is $160/person for meals only.  The training is covered by FEMA.  Tom, Brandon, Travis, Andy and Mike will all be going.  Randall stated that the per diem in the manual are pretty limited so that should be revisited.  Mike said that in this case the flight and hotels are covered.  The meals are the $160 fee.  The district will rent a vehicle, so it should not be an issue for this trip.  This will be Sep 7-14.

Non-short term rental business inspection fees (Mike):  The businesses do not pay a fee for inspections currently, however short-term rentals do.  Brian stated that this is because commercial buildings are built to commercial standards, whereas the short-term rentals are built to residential standards.  The city only collects a fee on the residential.  The city would not be willing to start charging the fee for the businesses, so it would be the responsibility of the district to charge.  Mike stated that the house that was just recently converted to a business had a very similar inspection to the short-term rentals, but did not pay a fee.  The city does require the inspection, but does not charge a fee.  Howard said that $30 is not much to complain about.  The district should be more concerned about whether it is safe.  Mike does both inspections, regardless of whether there is a fee.  Mike said the only difference in the two inspections is that commercial requires ADA, and sprinklers, whereas rentals do not.  The board told Mike to let them know that the board has discussed it and they felt that commercial buildings are built to commercial standards and the rentals are built to residential standards.  The board will revisit next month.

 Vehicle/Equipment/Station Service Requests:  No requests.  Mike has replaced several batteries, filled fluids, etc.  Howard suggested purchasing a simple battery tester.  Mike stated that the station does have one.  The ones that have had problems were ones that had been driven recently and suddenly stopped.

Purchase Requisitions:  None this month.  Mike has been working on the building remodel.  He also purchased a GPS unit that will interface with the sheriff’s office equipment.  After testing this one, Mike will purchase one more high-end one and a few cheaper ones.  Brian asked if the missing rescue equipment had been replaced.  Mike said it showed up back at the station, so he did not end up having to purchase a new one.

 Equipment Status:  All equipment is stocked and running well except Brush 42.  Perry asked what the timeline is on the communication equipment.  Mike is waiting to hear back on the AFG grant before purchasing.  Brian asked about the Hazmat Technician training.  Mike stated that he was unable to get any volunteers.  However, the tech rescue team is coming together and includes fire fighters and search and rescue.

Responses:  1 structure fire, 2 brush fires, 1 propane leak, 1 CO, 1 school small fire.  Brian asked if any of the responses were to short-term rentals.  Mike stated that the CO call was, however it was not renters using the property at the time.

 New or Miscellaneous Business:  Randall asked who had attended training and asked for copies of the certificates.  Randall had done it online.  Perry said he is doing the training online.  Brian had done the training, but could not get his certificate to print.  Randall recommended emailing the test answers to Ryan Roberts, as that is what he had to do.

The Bear Lake Shake by the DNR has asked the fire district to do a fire boat demonstration on May 31.  There will be a wild land engine academy training on the east side as well.  Mike will pull a few firefighters off the training at lunch to handle the fire boat.  Mike is going to put the boat in on Saturday.  He will encourage the fire fighters to play around with the equipment on the boat for the next two weeks to become familiar with it.

Andy Stokes has been added as a Lieutenant.  The Lieutenants will act as captains if one is absent.  Last night there was an officer’s meeting.  The officers would like to do a BBQ/Fire Awareness Night for all the area residents on the 4th Wednesday in June.  They will have a fire safety trailer and a few other activities.

Randall asked how many fire fighters there are now.  Mike said there are right around 26.  Brian asked if there were turnouts for everyone.  Mike said yes, however the new firefighters are in older turnouts for now.  There will be a Fire I class in 2015.  There will also possibly be a Fire II class in the fall.  Mike will try to get a couple instructors from Bridgerland to help out with that.

Chris asked if Mike had a proactive plan to keep people from being stupid this summer.  Mike stated that there have been a couple stupid accidents lately.  Mike said awareness is the biggest issue.  Mike is trying to recommend that if homeowner’s have items to burn that they do it now while the burn index is good.  Chris Coray asked that Mike remember that the upper part of Sweetwater does not allow burning.  Mike stated that he will inspect, but reminds them of the HOA rules.  Mike would ask that Sweetwater revisit the issue and suggest that the HOA allow some of these burns early in the year.  There are several homes that would be written off if a fire started due to items located around them.  Allowing residents to burn under limited situations could actually be safer than eliminating fires all the way.  Mike has been asked many times why the house in Sweetwater burned so quickly.  He is trying to educate individuals at that time.  Mike stated that part of the reason was that the doors were all open.  There was also scrap material at the ignition site.  By closing things up and moving away construction materials, homeowners can help the fire fighters quite a bit.  Randall said the homeowners need to be made aware they should close all interior doors when they leave.

 Items for follow-up: 

  • April Meeting Minutes
  • Policies and Procedures
  • Legal Representation
  • Business inspection fees

Motion to adjourn by Brian, 2nd by Howard, vote was unanimous.