January 20, 2010


The Mecosta-Austin Fire Board meeting was called to order at 7:32 pm by John Boyd Jr.


Pledge to the flag was given.


Roll Call-John Boyd, Jr., Greg Babbit, Elizabeth Carr, and Carolyn Towsley were present.


Election Of Officer – John Boyd told us that John Johnson, Vice Chairperson, had to resign due to business commitments.  Mecosta Township nominated Phil Hanford to take his place on the Mecosta-Austin Fire Board.  John Boyd asked for nomination to fill the Vice Chairperson position.  Carolyn Towsley nominated Phil Hanford to fill the position supported by Greg Babbit.  Motion carried.  Carolyn handed out copies of the Mecosta-Austin Fire Department Agreement of 1998.  She reminded everyone that we need to review the Agreement yearly.  We will review it at our March meeting.


Additions to the Agenda- No additions were presented.


Approval of the Agenda- Greg Babbitt moved that the Agenda be approved supported by Carolyn Towsley. Motion carried.


Approval of the Minutes- Greg Babbitt moved the minutes as submitted be approved supported by Elizabeth Carr. Motion carried


Treasurers report and bills-Firemen Checking $26,813.31– Firemen Fund $949.97   Independent Bank $14,859.75   Jaws $600.00   Total Assets $43,223.03.

First Responders Checking $6,400.11   Independent Bank $5,098.59   Total Assets  $11,498.70.  

Elizabeth went over some of the accounts that have been overspent.  She recently met with the Fire Department members and got a better understanding of where and what expenses affect which accounts.  Also since the auditor has balanced our computer system she is unable to make changes to the accounts that have been incorrectly charged.  We just need to keep our eye on the bottom line.


Old Business

ISO Update –John Boyd called the ISO representative reviewing our ISO report.  The ISO representative said that he did not have item F.  It was the report where areas without fire hydrants must submit fill and dump times.  Ron Palmer said he had sent that information a couple of weeks ago.  So it was agreed that Ron Palmer will send the information to John Boyd and John Boyd will send it on to the ISO representative.  The ISO representative said he is booking appointments for reviews in the month of April.  So John Boyd told him to put us down for April.  It looks like we are moving forward.


SOG – Phil Hanford said he had not called the attorney to follow up on the legality of the suggested pay rate.  We will table this until next month.


Credit Card Status – Carolyn Towsley informed the Board that she started to look into getting a credit card and then stopped because of some issues that were brought up by Austin Township Board.  First the motion was made that John Boyd, Jr., should be the one to approve any expenses over $200.  It should have been set for the Chairperson to give approval.  The reason for having a credit card was discussed.  There are times when the fire department orders items from catalogs and a credit card is needed.  Carolyn Towsley also mentioned the liability problems that could be associated with a credit card that could affect Austin Township.  Mecosta Township mentioned that they have a credit card and possibly they could provide assistance with this issue.  This will be discussed at the Mecosta Austin Joint Township meeting.


New Business


Fire Chief’s Report-See attached report.  They have a new member, Nick Goodfellow, who is taking Fire Fighters I & II at Morton Township and is doing very well.  The Fire Department received a grant from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for radios and tank vests.  The grant is a 50/50 match.  On June 2 there will be a switch over from wide band to narrow band radios,  The 50/50 grant will cover half the cost of these new radios.  All radios in the fire department will be narrow band. 


Missing Pager.  It has been found.  Just accidently misplaced.


Safety and Training Report-See attached report.

The training refresher they had on Ice Rescue identified hot and cold zones and location of equipment on the boat.  February 27 there will be an Ice Rescue class.  The County will fund this like they do the Fire Fighter classes.  The cost is $125 per class participant.  Eight people will be certifying that day.  That will make 10 staff members who have the technical operation level certification.  Michigan Rescue Concepts will do the training on Buffalo Pond.


Maintenance Report- Nothing broke at this time.


MF Fire Report – Money from the County is coming to cover the current payroll and the first half of next year’s budget.  On February 23 there will be an Advance Airway Training.


Next Year’s Budget – Discussion on this subject was raised because tomorrow night when the two townships have their joint meeting it may be discussed on reducing the Fire Department’s budget by 15%.  Townships are taking a 15% reduction on their incoming revenue sharing money from the State and this may need to be figured in each one’s budget.  Other items were suggested for the townships to review tomorrow night:  allow fire department fund raisers, a fire millage, discuss possible use of leftover $1,400 in the Mecosta Township fire millage account.


Fire Trucks Status – Need a new rescue truck.  A 4 door F550 would be very sufficient to handle current needs.  Current costs are $70,000 for 2010 model.  The old rescue truck would then be used as a grass rig.  If a new rescue truck is bought then the 6x6 would be the best truck to get rid of since it is too expensive to fix and not DOT approved.  The fire department has been looking at used F550 in the price range of $25-30,000 plus add-ons.  To make the used vehicle usable the cost would be close to $40,000. 


The next expensive item that would they need to be purchased is a new pumper.  This may be about three years out before this new tanker will be needed.


The engines and tankers are in good shape. 


Tanks will need to be replaced.  They need to be replaced every 10 years.   But at the time they expire, we will have 20 tanks to be replaced.  We may need to look at purchasing one-half of them now and the other half later.  We may be able to sell the partially used tanks to others who can use them out.  But they will need to be certified before we try to sell them.


High Speed Internet – There is a need for high speed internet here at the fire hall.  There doesn’t seem to be any DLS or cable available here.  So we need to look at other options such as Charter, Wild Blue, Hughes Net etc.  This issue is tabled until next meeting.


Yearly Review of FR Boundary Change – Everything seems to be going just fine.  Dispatch said that they have made all of their calls.  We will review again next year.


Brief Public Comment – Elizabeth Carr mentioned that there is a desperate need for census workers.  She will bring down information to post at the fire hall.  Phil Hanford mentioned that there will be a census meeting at Mecosta Township hall on January 28.  Phil Hanford asked if the fire board meetings are posted since he noticed in the Agreement that meetings are open to the public.  Meetings are posted on Austin Township’s website and in the Pioneer at the beginning of the fiscal year.


The next meeting will be March 17, 2010 at 7:00 p.m. at the Firehall


Adjournment -9:10 pm   Motion to adjourn by Greg Babbit and seconded by Phil Hanford.


Submitted by




Carolyn Towsley, Secretary