Mecosta Austin Fire Board

January 16, 2013




Chairman John Boyd called the meeting to order at 7:23 p.m.


Pledge to the flag was given.


Roll Call: OLD BOARD:  John Boyd; Greg Babbitt; Elizabeth G. Carr; and Carolyn Towsley.  Absent Arturo Pierera and Phil Hanford.

Additions to the Agenda – Old #2 Language for First Responders.  New #6 Election of Fire Chief


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


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


Treasurer’s Report –Reviewed Profit and Loss Budget vs Actual and Balance Sheets for Fire Department and First Responders.  Firemen Checking $15,383.24 – Firemen Fund $1,036.23 - Independent Bank $14,736.70.  Total Assets $31,156.17 as of January 16, 2013.  First Responders Checking $12,999.64 as of January 16, 2013.  John Boyd said the report would be accepted as presented.

Carolyn Towsley moved to approve the bills: Fire Department checks #4679-4714 and First Responders checks #1327-1340.  Greg Babbitt seconded.  Roll Call: Greg Babbitt – yea; Elizabeth Carr – yea; Carolyn Towsley – yea; and John Boyd – yea.  Motion carried.


Election of Fire Board Officers – Michelle Graham, Susan Sikkema and John Boyd were elected to the Fire Board by Mecosta Township.  Michelle Graham moved to elect John Boyd as Chairperson, Michelle Graham as Vice Chairperson, Carolyn Towsley as Secretary, and Elizabeth Carr as Treasurer.  Greg Babbitt seconded.  Motion carried.


Old Business


6X6 – Pump shaft should be received in the next week or two.  Company only covers order after they have a quota quantity on order to begin manufacturing them.  Vehicle should be back in service no later than our March meeting.


Language for First Responders – Language on qualifications to become a first responder was tabled until March meeting.  A new SOG needs to be developed.


New Business


Fire Chief’s Report – Marv Bell reported there were 79 runs in 2012.  7 fire runs since last meeting.  Two ceiling fans need to be replaced and they will cost $395 to replace and install.


Safety Report - No reported injuries.  NIMS compliance needs to be met by several fire department staff and fire board members.  Ron Palmer is the new President for training programs for the county and he will find dates and meeting places for those members.  Fire Fighter I and II classes are currently be taken by two.  There will be no charge for this training since it is covered by a grant.  Ice rescue training will take place in Ashton.  There is enough in the training budget to cover the training of three people. 


Maintenance Report – Steve Cook reported that minor maintenance has been done.  The siren on 3-11 has been moved from the roof to the front of the vehicle.


MFR Report –Runs:  144 calls for 2012.  23% were in Austin Township, 2% out of the area and 75% in Mecosta Township of which 3% were on the expressway.  MFR class will be held in March with one person for sure and another possible one.  At a recent meeting the county approved the 1st $3,500 allotment and the money for the last two month runs.  Our department is running about 6% of the calls in the county.


Short and Long Term Needs – Short term goals presented were: light motion sensor at front entry door ($200); 2 sets of turn out gear ($1,700 ea. - $3,400); 3 ice rescue suits ($750 ea. - $2,300); 6 – 1 ¾ hose ($125 ea. - $750); 4 – 2 ½ hose ($165 ea. - $660); and 3 exterior doors ($750 for all 3).  Susan Sikkema moved to have the fire department proceed to purchase the turn out gear, ice rescue suits and hoses based on what is currently left in this year’s budget not to exceed $7,200.  Michelle Graham seconded. Greg Babbitt – yea; Elizabeth Carr – yea; Michelle Graham – yea; Susan Sikkema - yea; Carolyn Towsley – yea; and John Boyd – yea.  Motion carried.  Long term goals are new engine/pumper tanker and projector screen.  John Boyd said he could get a projector screen from Morley Stanwood.  For next year’s budget we need to add wages to conduct commercial site visits.  There are about 60 visits that need to be conducted based on 5-10 hours per visit at $12/hourly rate.  If they conduct 20 per year an additional $1,700+ will need to be added to budget.  It was discussed that we may want to revisit the hourly rate being paid for our fire department.  It has been 5-8 years since the last rate increase.  Michelle Graham moved that the Fire Board recommends to the Joint Township Board a $66,000 operating budget for 2013 to cover increased wages and onsite inspection hours.  Susan Sikkema seconded.  Motion carried.


Election of Chief – The Fire Chief’s position needs to be posted.  Sign up on the post and submittal of resumes need to be in by March 13, 2013.  If there are multiple applicants the fire board interview board will meet on March 20, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.  Those named to the interview board were:  Michelle Graham, Susan Sikkema, Carolyn Towsley, Ron Palmer, Allen Brennan and Tom O’Neil.


Brief Public Comment – Elizabeth Carr told everyone that the budget packets included information they needed to prepare for their 2013 budget.  Preliminary meeting was scheduled for February 7 for both Fire Department and First Responders. 


Announcements – None.


Correspondence – Crystal Flash letter regarding 1% discount if we allowed electronic fund transfer.  Carolyn Towsley just wanted to let the Board know we had received the letter but disregarded it since we had denied it when we first starting getting their service.


The next meeting will be MARH 20, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. at the Fire Hall or 6:30 p.m. if fire chief interviews need to be conducted. 


Adjournment - At 9:20 p.m. John Boyd declared the meeting closed.


Submitted by,




Carolyn Towsley, Secretary