Mecosta Austin Fire Board

March 20, 2013




Chairman John Boyd called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.


Pledge to the flag was given.


Roll Call: John Boyd; Michele Graham; Greg Babbitt; Susan Sikkema; Elizabeth G. Carr; and Carolyn Towsley.

Additions to the Agenda – None


Approval of Agenda – Elizabeth Carr moved that the Agenda as presented be approved.  Supported by Greg Babbitt.  Motion carried.


Approval of Minutes –Michele Graham’s first name is spelled with one “l”.  Elizabeth Carr moved the minutes be approved as corrected.  Supported by Susan Sikkema.  Motion carried.


Treasurer’s Report –Reviewed Profit and Loss Budget vs Actual and Balance Sheets for Fire Department and First Responders.  Firemen Checking $4,634.40 – Firemen Fund $917.40 - Independent Bank $14,740.45.  Total Assets $20,292.25 as of March 20, 2013.  Balance left in Fire Department’s checking is not enough to cover outstanding bills:  Binney’s $16.98; new checks with Isabella Bank as financial institution $155.00; liability insurance (still being reviewed to see if can get cost lower) $7,950.  Carolyn Towsley moved to transfer $4,000.00 from Independent Bank CD to Chemical Bank checking to cover outstanding bills.  Greg Babbitt seconded. Carried.  First Responders Checking $13,018.67 as of March 20, 2013.  John Boyd said the reports would be accepted as presented.

Greg Babbitt moved to approve the bills: Fire Department checks #4715-4741 including bills identified above and IRS tax withdrawal and First Responders checks #1341-1345 and new check order for Isabella Bank as financial institution $117.00.  Greg Babbitt seconded.  Roll Call: Susan Sikkema – yea; Michele Graham – yea; Greg Babbitt – yea; Elizabeth Carr – yea; Carolyn Towsley – yea; and John Boyd – yea.  Motion carried.


Election of Fire Chief – Marv Bell was the only person who applied for the position.  Since being unopposed he is elected Fire Chief for the new two years.  Marv was congratulated


Review Mecosta-Austin Fire Department and First Responder Agreements – Susan Sikkema moved to keep the agreements in their current form.  Elizabeth Carr seconded.  Carried.


Election of Fire Board Officers – The Board was informed that Carolyn Towsley of Austin Township will be stepping down and John Conforte was elected to serve on the Fire Board representing Austin Township.  His officer duties will begin in May.  A new secretary will need to be identified by the May meeting.


Old Business


Year End Settlement – Reports were reviewed to show how the finances were classified for 2012-2013.  Extra expenses (forgotten 6X6 bill of $1,387.01 and a missed repair bill for $560.00) were not taken into consideration when we authorized the fire department to purchase short term needs at the last meeting.  The (2) turn out gears bill has not been received and it will be $2,995.60.  Carolyn Towsley made the motion to move another $3,000.00 from Independent Bank CD to Chemical Bank checking to cover this expense.  Greg Babbitt seconded.  Carried.  After further discussion, the Fire Board agreed with the closing numbers and John Boyd said a final settlement report will be presented at the May meeting. 


2013-2014 Budget –


        FIRE DEPARTMENT                                                                                  FIRST RESPONDERS

        Income                                                                                                           Income

            Austin Township                                 $30,000.00                                  County Revenue                                              $12,000.00          Mecosta Township                                   30,000.00                                  Interest                                                                       25.00

            Firemen’s Fund Donations                        800.00                                     Total Income                                                  $12,025.00                          Interest                                                             100.00

            Misc. Income                                               100.00                                  Expense

            Donations                                                 1,000,00                                      Payroll Expenses                                          $ 6,500.00

               Total Income                                      $62,000.00                                      Payroll Taxes                                                      550.00

                                                                                                                                    Supplies                                                               450.00

        Expense                                                                                                             Medical Expense                                                  50.00

            Wages                                                   $25,000,00                                      Office Supplies                                                   300.00

            Payroll Tax                                                2,000.00                                      Postage and Freight                                            75.00

            Office supplies                                         1,000.00                                     Truck Expense                                                     900.00

            Postage and freight                                    400.00                                     Fuel                                                                   1,000.00

            Truck Repair                                             3,000.00                                      Other Expenses                                                  200.00

            Firefighters’ expense                                  700.00                                      Training                                                               500.00

            Audit                                                             800.00                                      Equipment Repair                                               500.00

            Training                                                    2,000.00                                      New Equipment                                               1,000.00

            Insurance                                                12,300.00                                         Total Expense                                            $12,025.00

            Utilities                                                      4,000.00

            Equipment Repair                                     3,000.00

            Hall Expense                                             2,300.00

            PR & Prom                                                 1,000.00

            Firemen Fund Expenses                             800.00

            Contingency                                             2,000.00

            New Equipment                                           500.00

            Capital Outlay                                           1,200.00

               Total Expense                                    $62,000.00


After finalizing the above 2013-14 budget, everyone agreed that we will run the budget the best we can.  If any unforeseen expenses arise they will be brought to the township boards for review.  Discussion that followed  revealed that several members of the fire and first responder department put in hours that are not documented for pay (lawn maintenance, snow removal, repair hours, and various types of meetings).  It was moved my Michele Graham to accept the 2013-2014 Fire Department and First Responder budgets as detailed above.  Elizabeth Carr seconded.  Carried.


First Responders SOG Language – Ron Palmer submitted a rough draft of SOG#4 – Standard Operating Guidelines Personnel.  New language was added to #1. Personnel: “… Members must complete at least one year of service, as a trained Firefighter, (completion of at least Firefighter II or equivalent) before holding an Officer’s position.


Members shall be Firefighter I certified or have started Firefighter I within two years of their hire on date.”


Add:  #2.  MEDICAL RESCUSE ONLY MEMBERS:  These members will perform duties only directly related to Medical First Response.  These members will always have a current Medical license issued by the State of Michigan.  They will be required to have passed the Emergency Vehicle Driving Course.  These members are allowed to drive only medical rescue vehicles.  They will not be allowed to drive any of the fire apparatuses.  These members shall not be allowed to hold any of the officers’ positions.  There shall be only a maximum of (5) five medical rescue members on the department at any given time.  These (5) members will part of the maximum departmental membership.


Ron said that #2 needed to be added because the rest of the SOG talked about number of members in the department as being 30.  During discussion some changes were recommended for the wording of the last two lines in SOG#4 – 2.  An amended version will be presented to the board at the May meeting.


6X6 – Pump has been installed and is working.  Need to put stops on valves.  Didn’t get done putting pump in until 10:30 p.m. night before so have not road tested the tanker.  As long as no other problems are detected the tanker will be in service by grass season.


New Business


Fire Chief’s Report – Marv Bell reported there were 12 runs since our last meeting.  ID stickers need to purchased and put on our property.  A pager and battery were recently lost and there was no way to identify ownership.  We did get the pager back and a battery which wasn’t ours was returned to us during the flood incident.  Marv also gave the DNR Mutual Aid Agreement to John Boyd for his signature for its annual renewal.  The County is going to a county-wide accountability system.  We will need to purchase 20-25 clips and rings which are used to account for where personnel are during an incident.  This system was recently tested and worked very well.


Safety Report - Recently participated at a joint training at Ferris State University.  Many communities were involved:  Mecosta Township, Austin Township, City of Big Rapids, Big Rapids Township, Morton Township, Wheatland Township, Village of Morley, City of Grand Rapids Hazmat, Mecosta County Sheriff, and Ferris State University.  This training worked on accountability and communication.  The accountability system mention above was used in this training.  Here at the Mecosta-Austin Fire Department a meeting was held on driver responsibility both with personal and department vehicles. 


Maintenance Report – Steve Cook reported everything is working.  The fire department does want to look into obtaining some tools to have for maintenance at the fire hall.


MFR Report –Runs:  27 calls since our last meeting.  MFR classes are scheduled to start in April.  There are five employees interested in taking the classes.  It will cost about $500 per person.


Brief Public Comment – Michele Graham told us that Scott Schroeder from the county’s Emergency Management Department said we did a great job at the flood incident; however, some additional precedence on the process needs to be reviewed.


Announcements – John Boyd congratulated Marv Bell for his election as Fire Chief, welcomed John Conforte to the Fire Board, and thanked Carolyn Towsley for ther service she has given to the Fire Board.


The next meeting will be MAY 15, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the Fire Hall.


Adjournment - At 9:15 p.m. John Boyd declared the meeting closed.


Submitted by,




Carolyn Towsley, Secretary