Volume No. 16 Issue No. 10 October 2019  

  BFFPD District September board meeting
  By Lindsey Harrison

     The Black Forest Fire Protection District held its regular monthly board meeting Sept. 25. Director Jim Abendschan was absent with prior notice.
   Financial report
   Jack Hinton, treasurer, presented information about a policy discussed at the August meeting, which separates the districtís cash funds into two different accounts as of Jan. 1, 2020. The first account will hold the general fund cash and a new interest-bearing account will hold $200,000 in reserve funds plus the required TABOR funds. Any withdrawal of funds from the new interest-bearing account must be approved by two directors and Fire Chief PJ Langmaid.
   The board unanimously approved the policy.
   Hinton said the districtís year-to-date expenditures is at 70.8 percent but he would like that to be 66 percent. There is $1.7 million in the districtís bank account.
   No changes were made to the 2018 audit; the directors unanimously passed a motion to approve the audit, Hinton said.
   The board unanimously approved a motion to authorize credit cards for Landmaid, Capt. Christopher Piepenburg and Lt. Ben Rackl.
   Operations report
   Deputy Chief James Rebitski said all of the districtís vehicles are 100 percent operational. He also reported that the cost for the two ambulances the district plans to purchase vary, depending on the color the district chooses: $165,040 for red paint and $159,200 for white paint. He advised the board that those purchase contracts need to be finalized soon or the grant money the BFFPD received to help pay for the ambulances would no longer be available.
   Rebitski said previously ordered bunker gear has been delivered, all headsets have been installed and a tremendous amount of training is occurring; including training with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District. The districtís wildland fire engine, a Type 3 engine, has been outfitted with everything possible, and the plan is to deploy it in January 2020, he said.
   The board unanimously approved a motion to complete the internet microwave project at Station 2 for $9,120.
   Langmaid said he is looking into response time data because he does not think the times are accurate.
   Three candidates for the full-time firefighter paramedic position have been placed on the districtís part-time roster with the ultimate goal of eventually hiring all three, Landmaid said. All annual evaluations of career staff have been completed, he said.
   The BFFPD has not heard back about whether they will receive funds from the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant. Langmaid said his recommendation is that if the district is not awarded grant money, they should hire a grant writer and include that cost in any grants awarded.
   Old business
   Hinton asked to table the discussion about the districtís asset policy.
   Reports on workshops/meetings attended
   Nate Dowder, director, said he attended the Special District Association conference in Keystone, Colorado, in September ó he said it was an outstanding event. ďI learned a lot, especially about TABOR and the Gallagher Amendment,Ē he said.
   Rebitski said he also attended the SDA meeting and said there is new legislation coming out in 2020 but most will not affect the BFFPD, including a law that equalizes the pay rate for males and females. Since the district pays their staff based on the position and not a personís gender, everything will stay the same.
   Langmaid said the district is switching its telephone and internet service provider to Streamline Web, a company that works specifically with local governmental agencies.
   The BFFPD is paying $240 per month for their current website, and Streamline costs $200 per month, with unlimited tech support from the company and a guaranteed 20-minute response for service requests, Rebitski said. The company does not provide the initial data migration in that monthly price and would charge $1,500 to perform that function, he said.
   Langmaid said he thinks the district can handle the data migration and save the $1,500.
   Update on chaplain and contractor programs
   The district has two chaplains whose main role is to check in with staff, Langmaid said. They are primarily providing support for first responders and are not equipped to go out on calls, he said.
   Langmaid also said he is waiting for information from the El Paso County Sheriffís Office about how they handle contractor programs before deciding how the BFFPD will proceed with those programs.
   Rick Nearhoof, president, said the High Forest Ranch homeowners association sent a card noting a $1,460 donation they made to the BFFPD.
   The next meeting of the BFFPD board is Oct. 23 in the board room of Station 1.
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