Mecosta Austin Fire Board


March 17, 7:00 PM


The meeting was called to order at 7:05 p.m. by Chairman John Boyd.


Pledge to the flag was given.


Roll Call: John Boyd, Jr.; Greg Babbitt; Arturo Pierera Phil Hanford, Elizabeth G. Carr; and Carolyn Towsley.


Additions to the Agenda – Credit card status to Old Business and battery exchange to New Business. 


Approval of Agenda – Greg Babbitt moved that the Agenda be approved as amended.  Supported by Phil Hanford.  Motion carried.


Approval of Minutes – Greg Babbitt moved the minutes be approved as presented.  Supported by Arturo Pierer.  Motion carried.


Treasurer’s Report – Elizabeth Carr noted that there were bills submitted this evening that will affect the total shown on the report she had handed out for the meeting.  Those expenses are: $750.00 for training; $4.89 for Office supplies; $9.38 for new equipment and $1.98 for truck expenses.  There are still some outstanding expenses that need to be submitted before the end of the month: repairs on truck that is leaking fluids, three sets of turnout gear @ $1,500+, 20 badges @ $62/each and $765 in matching grant funds for radios and vests.  It was agreed that they need to obtain invoices for these items and submit them for payment so they are included in this year’s budget.  Checks will be held by Austin Township Clerk until items are received. 


Elizabeth Carr noted that there was one bill submitted this evening that will affect the total shown on the report also.  That expense was $4.80 for equipment repair.  John Boyd said the report would be accepted as presented.


Public Commment – Phil Hanford presented a flyer that the Boy Scouts of Reed City were selling 911 signs (green address signs) for a money project and that the Fire Department may want to consider doing this project.


Old Business

Mecosta-Austin Fire Department Agreement was reviewed.  There appeared to be no changes needed for this year.  Accepted for another year.


ISO Update – John Boyd said that the report recently sent was unacceptable since it was not on Fire Department stationery.  The report has been resent on appropriate stationery last week.  This contact seems to be giving our submittal a hard time.  He appears to not be very organized or cooperative.  Fire Department is trying to make contact with another representative.


Standard Operating Guidelines (SOG) –Phil Hanford has not contacted an attorney for an opinion.  He needed to get a copy of the correct wording to have it reviewed.  But he is under the opinion that if the rate is not below minimum wage, it should be alright.  This was tabled for next meeting.


Budget – The current year’s budget was reviewed and the new budget was developed based on this year’s expenses to date, since they we very close to the $60,000 base income from the townships.  Ron Palmer asked if there would be a need for a hiring freeze based on this proposed budget.  Response was that we would review that issue if the wage budget gets close to be used up.  The First Responders budget was left the same as last year except to put $500 more into office supplies and reduce new equipment by $500.  Motion by Phil Hanford to accept Fire Department and First Responder budget as reviewed.  Greg Babbit seconded the motion.  Roll call taken:  John Boyd – yes; Greg Babbitt – yes; Arturo Pierera – yes; Phil Hanford – yes; Elizabeth Carr – yes; Carolyn Towsley – yes.  Motion carried.


High Speed Internet – There was no information to be presented tonight.  John Boyd will contact Charter and Ron Palmer will contact AT&T, Verizon and WildBlue.  Tabled for next meeting.


First Responders Rescue Truck – There was no information to be presented on this agenda item.  The Committee had decided to pursue two vehicles on which quotes were provided.  But when they went to the dealerships to get more information, they were informed that the ambulance package was not available on gas vehicles.  This meant that the trucks would only handle up to 130 amps, which is not enough for the equipment they use.  The Committee will be meeting again Thursday, March 18 at 7:00 p.m. to review other options.  Tabled for next meeting.


Credit Card Status – Mecosta Township has offered their credit card to the Fire Department for credit purchases.  John Boyd rescinded his motion regarding credit card usage on November 18, 2010.  John Boyd made this new motion:  The Fire Chief may contact the Mecosta Township Supervisor to use their credit card for purchases under $200.  If the purchase is $200 and over, the Fire Chief needs approval from the Fire Board Chairperson.  Upon receipt of bills charged to this credit card, Mecosta Township will be reimbursed for the expenses from the Fire Department/First Responders accounts.  Carolyn Towsley seconded the motion.  Roll call taken:  John Boyd – yes; Greg Babbitt – yes; Arturo Pierera – yes; Phil Hanford – yes; Elizabeth Carr – yes; Carolyn Towsley – yes.  Motion carried.


New Business

Fire Chief’s Report – They have new personnel.  Andrea DeMott turned 18 this month and has attended several meetings.  Mike Midcalf came to the Department from Morton Township and is already certified as a Firefighter I & II.  Phil Hanford made the motion that upon the acceptance of the Fire Department the Fire Board approves the acceptance of these two new people.  Arturo Pierera seconded.  Motion carried with 4 yes and 1 no. 


Six radios have been acquired with the DNRE grant, and six mobile and one portable radio with one free programming were acquired with the Region 6 County Emergency Management grant.  We will need to pay for the software program.


Safety Report – There have been no reported injuries.  Pump training has been conducted and six personnel completed the ice training program.


Maintenance Report – Oil changes are completed.  Truck 311 needs valves.


First Responders Report – 20 runs for last two months.  Need to purchase new backboards.  They have been trained on the King Airway tubes.  This is a new airway tube which is safer and easier to insert.


The First Responders requested to upgrade their pay from $10 to $12 per point.  This will not affect the budget since their wages with this new rate will remain under the county $1,700 funds provided.  First responders face the same duress and perils as Fire Fighters and should be earning the same wage.  Phil Hanford made the motion to increase First Responders wages from$10 per point to $12 per point effective April 1, 2010.  Arturo Pierera seconded.  Roll call taken:  John Boyd – yes; Greg Babbitt – yes; Arturo Pierera – yes; Phil Hanford – yes; Elizabeth Carr – yes; Carolyn Towsley – yes.  Motion carried.


Billing Policy – John Boyd handed out a copy of the Village of Morley’s policy for handling billings.  He also handed out a suggested wording for our possible verbiage on handling insurance billings.  He asked everyone to review and come back to the May board meeting with their suggestions and ideas.  Tabled for next meeting.


Battery Exchange Program – It was discussed why there was no battery exchange last Saturday.  First, the Daylight Savings date was not anticipated so early.  Second, there isn’t enough funding available to support the program.  The cost is about $.80 per battery and we usually go through about 288.  Most of the recipients seem to be Morton Township.  We need to review how to handle providing batteries to just Austin Township residents if this program is continued.  Also if promotion money continues to come in, the program may be carried out.  We will review this closer to Daylight Savings Time in November.  It will be taken off our publicized list of meetings and events for the Pioneer.


Brief Public Comment – None.


Announcements – None.


Correspondence – None.


The next meeting will be May 19, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Fire Hall.


Adjournment - At 9:25 p.m. Phil Hanford made the motion to adjourn the meeting.  Supported by Greg Babbitt.  Motion carried.


Submitted by,




Carolyn Towsley, Secretary