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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 5 May 2019  

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  FFPD December board meeting
  By Robin Widmar

   The Falcon Fire Protection District Board of Directors held its regular monthly meeting Dec. 12. All directors were present, along with Richard Shearer, legal counsel for the district.
   
   Treasurer’s report
   FFPD Fire Chief Trent Harwig reported that the fiscal year was 92 percent complete as of Nov. 30. The district had received 100 percent of its anticipated revenue in the general fund, while expenditures were at 82 percent across all General Fund categories. Harwig said that $50,000 had been transferred from the general fund to the capital projects fund.
   
   Harwig reported that the district’s newest fire engine should be delivered within the week. Final payment will be due on acceptance.
   
   Chief’s report
   Harwig said he submitted a request to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to begin the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant performance period on Dec. 30.
   The testing process has been completed for hiring nine full-time firefighter/emergency medical technicians, Harwig said. There were 16 in-house applicants. He said part-time firefighter/EMTs will also be hired from the list.
   
   Harwig said there were 1052.5 reserve standby hours in November. There were no station brownouts.
   
   Incident statistics
   FFPD received 215 calls for service in November, a slight decrease from November 2017. The year-to-date total through Nov. 30 was 2,452 calls, representing a 9 percent increase over the same period in 2017.
   
   U.S. Highway 24 and Old Meridian Road intersection redesign
   Director Tom Kerby said he spoke with the county’s project engineer, who said the county is hoping to start on its portion of the Highway 24/Old Meridian Road intersection redesign in the spring or early summer of 2019.
   
   Station 3 water and sewer service
   Harwig met with representatives from the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District; they support the inclusion of FFPD Station 3 into WHMD for water and sewer services. He said the fire district is coordinating the replacement of the existing water and septic systems at Station 3 to avoid disruption of the parking lot repaving project. The estimated costs for this work are included in the 2019 budget.
   
   2019 budget hearing
   Harwig provided a general overview of the 2019 budget. The budget includes operational and administrative funds to support the following:
  • Five fire stations (three staffed, two unstaffed) and the administrative headquarters attached to Station 3
  • 18 fire response vehicles
  • Firefighter/EMTs: 33 paid full-time; six paid part-time; and 20 volunteer reservists three battalion chiefs)
  • Two paid part-time positions (training captain and administrative support)
  • One paid full-time office manager
  • One paid full-time fleet mechanic
  • District contributions to the Volunteer Firefighter Pension Fund, which is administered by the Fire & Police Pension Association.

   The budget includes funds for capital projects, including structures, roads and grounds; office equipment; fixed support, truck mounted, medical and personal protective equipment; and vehicles.
   
   A new budget category for ambulance transport includes funding for the following:
  • Three Advanced Life Support transport ambulances
  • One paid full-time EMS division chief
  • Six paid full-time firefighter paramedics

   The Rural Water System Participation Fund provides for installation of a uniform system of water cisterns and related equipment and/or purchase of tanker trucks and other equipment to be used in conjunction with, or in lieu of, the water cistern system.
   
   Harwig then reviewed specific revenue and expense categories. He said there were increased expenses across some categories because of hiring additional personnel (uniforms, personal protective equipment, physicals, training, phone reimbursements for chiefs, etc.). Increases were also attributed to vehicles and associated communications gear (radios, mobile computers, etc.) and equipment; a new district website; and insurance (workers’ compensation), facilities, apparatus and ambulance service coverage).
   
   Other budgeted expenses include $303,000 for resurfacing the Station 3 parking lot and tap fees for the new water and sewer service; a new fire engine (which will be the last ordered to replace aging apparatus); and two new ambulances. The fire district will also apply an additional $500,000 to the lease purchase payment for Station 4, which will ultimately save taxpayer dollars on interest paid.
   
   Harwig said he anticipates that ambulance transports will start in October. The district is currently obtaining estimates for billing and collection services.
   
   The FFPD board passed a resolution to adopt the budget as presented. The board also passed a resolution to appropriate sums of money into each of the funds, and another to set the mill levy at 14.886 mills.
   
   The board also passed a resolution to approve the 2019 schedule for board meetings and locations to post notices. All FFPD board meetings will be held on the third Wednesday of every month, except December. To meet statutory budget deadlines, the December board meeting will be held on the second Wednesday. The board also directed FFPD staff to post the volunteer pension board meetings on the district website and other places to ensure the public is aware of those meetings, which will be held May 15 and Nov. 20.
   
   2019 pay, leave and allowance schedule
   Harwig said he conducted salary comparisons with similar local fire departments to establish the 2019 pay, leave and allowance schedule. He also considered the sustainability of the proposed salary rates. He said the fire district will have to wait for the full impact the Gallagher amendment has residential assessment rates in 2020.
   
   The FFPD board voted to approve the 2019 pay, leave and allowance schedule.
  
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