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"Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit, and as vital to our lives as water and good bread."
– Edward Abbey  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 9 September 2019  

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  FFPD August board meeting
  By Robin Widmar

   The Falcon Fire Protection District held its regular monthly board meeting Aug. 21. Directors Dan Kupferer, Tom Kerby and Cory Galicia were present. Mike Collins participated via teleconference. Joan Hathcock was granted an excused absence. Attorney Joan Fritsche, legal counsel for the district, was also present.
   
   Volunteer pension board
   Trustees Rex Weir and Joan Hathcock were absent.
   
   Fire Chief Trent Harwig reported that the volunteer pension fund made a little money in 2018 but did not perform well. He said the fund did well in the first quarter of 2019 and fell off a little in the second quarter, but is still performing better than it did last year.
   
   Harwig said the actuarial study revealed that the district will have to increase contributions by about $1,000 annually to keep the fund sound at the current maximum benefit amount of $520 per month.
   
   Trustees discussed potential benefit increases and correlating increases to district contributions. The pension board approved a maximum benefit increase to $560 per month beginning Jan. 1, 2020, and will ask the district to increase annual contributions from the current $30,000 to about $38,000.
   
   Treasurer’s report
   Harwig reported that the fiscal year was 58 percent complete as of July 31. The general fund had received 93 percent of its anticipated revenue. Expenses across all categories were at 73 percent, including transfers to other funds. Harwig said there have been some unanticipated expenses but all have been within budget amounts.
   
   The ambulance transport fund had received all transfers from the general fund and was at 95 percent of total revenue. Expenditures were at 61 percent, which included transfers to the capital projects fund for the purchase of ambulances and equipment.
   
   The capital projects fund had received 100 percent of its revenue, and expenditures were at 41 percent. The district paid for the cab and chassis for the new engine, which will be the last one purchased under the current fleet replacement plan. It is scheduled for delivery before the end of the year.
   
   September meeting rescheduled
   The board voted to reschedule its Sept. 18 meeting to Sept. 11 to accommodate personnel schedules.
   
   Chief’s report
   Reservists logged 301 standby hours in July.
   
   Incident statistics
   The district received 219 calls for service in July. The year-to-date total as of July 31 was 1,820, which represents a 16.9 percent increase over the same period in 2018.
   
   Out of 143 combined emergency medical calls and traffic accidents in July, 54.5 percent required at least one patient to be transported by ambulance.
   
   Attorney’s report
   Attorney Joan Fritsche reported that the district had received the closing paperwork regarding a land transfer between the District and Falcon Highlands. This relates to a parcel of land being purchased by El Paso County for the new Meridian Road and U.S. Highway 24 interchange. Funding is in place, and all involved parties are awaiting a closing date from the title company.
   
   Old Meridian Road and U.S. Highway 24 intersection design
   Harwig said the state and county projects are no longer being coordinated. The county will complete the Meridian Road project and stop short of the intersection with Highway 24.
   
   Woodmen Hills park at Station 1
   The board voted to terminate a sublease agreement with the Falcon seniors. The group’s proposed senior center adjacent to FFPD Station 1 never materialized, and the property is now being considered for a playground accessible to children with disabilities.
   
   Ambulance billing rates and policies
   The board discussed the district’s transport billing hardship policy, which is required by the billing company; and must meet Medicare/Medicaid guidelines. The policy was compiled from multiple policies reviewed by district staff. Harwig noted this is not a write-off policy, which will be developed next.
   
   Shiloh Mesa 502 exclusion
   Board members reviewed and discussed legal documents related to the Shiloh Mesa 502 exclusion. The board approved a required Intergovernmental Agreement and joint plan for service.
   
   Petition for Station 3 inclusion into WHMD
   Attorney Fritsche said the request has been made for inclusion of the existing Station 3 property into the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District. The board voted to approve and ratify the inclusion petition.
   
   Ambulance account at Farmer’s State Bank
   Harwig said the billing company requires a bank account for transferring funds. He requested that a new account be created to keep it separate from the general fund. The board approved creation of the new account.
   
   Engagement of Fritsche Law LLC
   Fritsche provided her background for consideration by the board. She proposed an agreement similar to the one the district entered into with Attorney Richard Shearer in 2009. This monthly retainer includes reviews of meeting agendas, meeting attendance, reviews of minutes and an attorney’s report. Shearer announced his retirement at the June 19 board meeting.
   
   The board voted to engage Fritsche Law, LLC as its legal counsel.
   
   Administrative building design
   The board voted to accept a bid from Yow Architects for work on the design and planning of the proposed FFPD administrative building.
  
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