Mecosta Austin Fire Board


May 19, 2010 7:00 PM


The meeting was called to order at 7:02 p.m. by Chairman John Boyd.


Pledge to the flag was given.


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


Additions to the Agenda – Under New Business: 5) First Responders Payroll and 6) First Responders Truck Protocol. 


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


Approval of Minutes – Greg Babbitt moved the minutes be approved as amended, under Credit Card Status, line 2, November 18, 2010 should be November 18, 2009.  Supported by Phil Hanford.  Motion carried.


Treasurer’s Report – Elizabeth Carr noted that the funds left over from last year of $2,931.50 were moved over to their Independent Bank CD.  Holton’s bill has a little over $1,200 credit from last year’s budget plan.  It will be used to average this year’s budget plan.  She also mentioned that Verizon phone service for this area will be now serviced by Frontier.  She also said that Austin Township is looking into another company that offers service for a flat rate and will be comparing it to past billings to see if it would be work switching.  She will look into this for the Fire Department also.


Firemen Checking $60,128.73– Firemen Fund $949.97   Independent Bank $17,808.35   Total Assets $78,887.05.  As of April 30, 2010.


First Responders Checking $8,319.99   Independent Bank $5,106.42   Total Assets $13,426.41.   As of April 30, 2010.


John Boyd said the report would be accepted as presented.


Meeting Format and Conduct – John Boyd said the last meeting went too long and we needed to establish a meeting format.  On any topic a person is allowed two public comments and to keep them to the point.


Public Comment – Phil Hanford announced that there will be a Joint Township Board meeting on May 26 at 7:00 p.m. at Austin Township.


Old Business

ISO Update – Nothing has been heard to date.  The ISO representative has called with questions and they have been answered.  At the ISO test we did everything they asked.  It will probably take 3-6 months before we find out results.  A letter will be sent to the Fire Board Chairman, Fire Chief and Townships letting them know the results and how it will be handled.  The ISO usually contacts the insurance companies of the residents to inform them of our rating status.  They will also tell us what we need to do to maintain that rating.  This will all be defined in their report when released.


Mecosta-Austin Fire Department Agreement – This topic was taken care of at the last meeting.


Standard Operating Guidelines (SOG) –Phil Hanford has not received an attorney’s opinion.  As long as the rate is not below minimum wage, it should be alright.  The Board decided to approve the new language for the SOG.  Carolyn Towsley read the amendment:  Under NEW MEMBERS the new b) section will read as follows.  b) Probationary pay for a non-certified firefighter shall be $4.00 per hour less than pay given to Certified Firefighters until they have obtained Firefighters I Certification and have completed the 90 days after certification as stated in a).  She then made the motion to accept the amendment to SOG#4 4. (b).  Supported by Elizabeth Carr.  Motion carried.  Ron Palmer will make the Board a CD with all of the SOGs.


High Speed Internet – Ron Palmer contacted WildBlue and found out that they are not servicing the 49346 area any longer and was referred to Earthlink which referred him to their company holder HughesNet.  Set up will be $399.99 and monthly basic service will be $59.95 with a local installation $200 rebate.  The $59.95 is for 1MB, 1.2 MB would be $69.95 and 1.6MB would be $79.95.  Ron Palmer said the 1 MB would be sufficient to download fire reports.  John Boyd tried to meet with Charter but was unable to and they are sending a bid.  It was noted by Phil Hanford that Ice Mountain currently is supplied by Charter.  We will look into this further.  Tabled for next meeting.


First Responders Rescue Truck – Phil Hanford said he needed to get a bid on a replacement of the current fire rescue truck.  The committee also has two bids on two other trucks.  All of these bids will be brought before the Joint Townships Board meeting on May 26.  The split would be 65 Mecosta/35 Austin.  Phil Hanford and Kenn Vredenburg approached Ice Mountain for a donation.  After a definite vehicle is agreed upon the company would like that information along with information on First Responders calls, training, etc.  They will then think about assisting.


Battery Exchange Program – Carolyn Towsley said she was putting together the Township Tax Newsletter and wanted to verify if any information on the battery exchange program should be put into it.  It was decided that since budgeting is very tight this year and that 90% of the batteries are given to people outside our townships that we will not do the program.  Carolyn Towsley made the motion to not do the battery exchange program this year.  Supported by Phil Hanford.  Motion carried.  It was recommended that the Fire Department post a notice to remind the public to change their batteries around the Daylight Savings time.


Billing Policy – Phil Hanford is concerned that there may be some legal issues on billing some people and not others.  There will also be an accounting problem when bills are not paid.  It was mentioned that Lakeview bills and if they have delinquent accounts they take them to Small Claims Court.  It was suggested that this topic be put on the Joint Townships Board Meeting agenda.


New Business

Fire Chief’s Report – There were 16 fire runs during the last two months.  Firefighter Ted Bartlette has submitted his resignation since he is getting married and moving.  Greg Babbitt made the motion to accept the resignation.  Phil Hanford supported.  Motion carried.  All of the supplies purchased with last year’s DNR grant have been received and we are sending copies of our cancelled checks to collect the DNR 50%.  The Fire Department is also applying for a new DNRE grant for a tank/pump.  We are applying three different ways for the grant: 1) $8,000 for tank/pump; 2) $3,500 for tank only 3) Gear.  Marv Bell will be ordering 4 pairs of gloves at $40/ea.   


Safety Report – There have been no reported injuries.  The Fire Department was invited to Rogers Dam for a tour to determine what to do in case of emergencies at the site.  The Fire Department is also approaching Consumers Power for funding to assist in training.


Maintenance Report – All equipment currently is functioning properly.


First Responders Report – No report on runs for last two months was available.  It will be provided at our next meeting.  Ron Palmer said they are currently working on buying two backboards in conjunction with the county so they can get them at a better cost since they are ordering as a group.  Backboards need to be ordered every year for rotation.  This will come out of the already approve $2,500 budgeted for them.


First Responders Payroll – It has been asked by some township officials as to how the payroll is set.  A cap of $1,700 for 170 point value had been agreed on by the Fire Board in the establishment of the First Responders.  Payroll cannot exceed this amount.  Monthly County run reimbursements do not always equal this amount because a set amount is divided amongst the townships and city based on runs in their area.  Some quarters we may get less and others we may get more reimbursement based on our runs.  However, the payroll and expenses are kept within their half year general allocation and their quarterly run reimbursements.


First Responders Truck Protocol – It was questioned if the rescue truck goes to all fire scenes as an assist.  The fire truck does go to all scenes within our jurisdiction.  It may be sent outside our jurisdiction in case it is needed there and also to be available to go to another call should it come in.  If a call outside our jurisdiction comes in, there is always staff available at the Fire Hall ready to run the rescue truck.


Brief Public Comment – Phil Hanford mentioned that the Morley-Stanwood Food Pantry will be held in June, July and August at the Morley American Legion.  The Food Pantry Committee has asked if the Fire Department would advertise it on their sign out front.  Marv Bell will get with the Committee representative and make arrangements to do it.


Announcements – Carolyn Towsley announced that she will not be at the July 21 meeting and that Helen Burden would be there to take notes.  She will need to have agenda items to forward to members by July 9.


Correspondence – None.


The next meeting will be July 21, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Fire Hall.


Adjournment - At 8:20 p.m. John Boyd declared the meeting closed.


Submitted by,




Carolyn Towsley, Secretary