June 18, 2014

CALL TO ORDER @ 7:00 pm


x Mr. Anderson                  x Mr. Takacs             x Chief Lutz

x Mr. Frager                         x Mr. Vest                  x Mr. Long

x Mr. Gauntner                   x Mr. Wayman         x Mr. Szeman



DOG OXYGEN MASK PRESENTATION: Myra Clingerman and Denise Krashoc of the Airedale Terrier Club of Northern Ohio presented a pet oxygen mask to the District to be used by responders for animal rescue. Chief Lutz and the Board thanked them for the donation and their ongoing campaign to supply area groups with this important equipment.

SWEARING-IN CEREMONY:Chief Lutz introduced the District’s newest Full-Timer, Benjamin Erdani, who was sworn in by Joe Szeman, legal counsel. Ben has been with Madison Fire since 2011. Welcome aboard, Ben!

DISTRICT INSURANCE: Tony Long reported that he and Chief Lutz have met with Mike Gehring and advised the board that the 2014-2015 District Insurance Premium will be about 2% higher than last year. Mr. Gehring will present full details at the July meeting.


Minutes of 05/21/14 Regular Session

Amendment – Page 4 – Mr. Vest requested that the record reflect that he asked Mr. Cahill, Village Trustee, to apologize to Mr. Long for comments made against him at the Village Council meeting in regards to the handling of the deposit check issued to the District by Madison Village for the Station #1 Purchase Agreement. Mr. Cahill declined.

Motion to amended by: Mr. Gauntner, Seconded by: Mr. Frager

ROLL CALL: All ayes

Motion to approve as amended by: Mr. Takacs, Seconded by: Mr. Wayman

ROLL CALL: All ayes


Bills ($65,435.20) and payroll ($168,535.67) totaling $233,970.87 are motioned for acceptance and payment. Mr. Long, CFO, detailed several expenditures.

Motion to approve bills and payroll as presented by: Mr. Wayman, Seconded by: Mr. Gauntner

ROLL CALL:   All ayes



OLD BUSINESS:                                                                                                  

Old St. #3 Ross Road – Roof Repairs:

Mr. Gauntner revisited the ongoing discussion about Madison Fire District’s responsibility to Madison Township with regard to the 2011 cost of roof repairs made to the Ross Road building ($7,238.00). At the April 16, 2014 Fire Board meeting, he reminded the Board that they had declined to pay any portion of this cost at their June, 2011 meeting and he requested that copies of said minutes, and the Lease Agreements, be forwarded to board members for their review and reconsideration.

Mr. Gauntner reported that he has been researching Fire Board minutes of 1971 to 1987 regarding an unrelated topic and, in the process, found that in December, 1980, January, 1981 and February, 1981, the Fire Board took steps to amend the 1979 Annual Lease Agreements between the Fire District and the Village and Township in which the Village and Township had responsibility for maintenance and repairs. The Fire Board agreed to take on responsibility for interior/exterior, structural/non-structural and ordinary/extraordinary maintenance necessary (except reasonable wear and tear) to keep all 3 stations in good condition and repair. Mr. Gauntner advised that in February, 1981, the Lease Agreements had been amended accordingly by Mr. Collins, Village Legal Counsel, and Mr. Parks, Township Legal Counsel, and were unanimously approved by the Fire Board. He reported that the Term of the 1981 Annual Lease Agreements were amended in 1982 to be automatically renewed successionally unless otherwise stipulated, with or without cause, by either party by submitting a 90-day notice in writing.

Based on the aforementioned facts, Mr. Gauntner stated that the Fire District was and is responsible for the cost of repairs to all stations in accordance with the current 1982 Lease Agreements including repairs needed to the Ross Road building when it was turned back over to the Township in 2011. Mr. Gauntner motioned that the Fire District reimburse Madison Township the amount of $7,238.00 for the repairs made to the Ross Road building roof.

Motion by: Mr. Gauntner, Seconded by: Mr. Wayman

Old St. #3 Ross Road Roof Repair Discussion (Vest/Gauntner/Wayman):

Q: Mr. Vest asked if the Fire District approved the roof repairs to the Ross Road building.

A: Mr. Gauntner replied that the Fire District entered into the 1982 Lease Agreements with the Village and Township, and that prior to the Township repairing the roof, the District had been making and paying for improvement at Ross Road.

Q: Mr. Vest again asked Mr. Gauntner who gave approval to make the repairs to the Ross Road Station roof.

A: Mr. Gauntner stated that the Fire District did.

Q: Mr. Vest disagreed and replied that the Township gave the approval for the repairs and asked why they would do so if, according to the Lease, it was the District’s responsibility.

A: Mr. Gauntner asked that Mr. Wayman answer the question since he was Trustee for both the Township and the Fire Board at the time.

A: Mr. Wayman explained that when the District turned the Ross Road building back over to the Township, the building was in poor repair, the roof was leaking like a sieve and the interior was moldy. Per Mr. Wayman, in order to save the building, the Township made the necessary roof repairs and asked the Fire District to share the cost. He stated that in the previous 5 years, the Fire District did not put the money into the building that they should have to keep it in good condition.

Q: Mr. Vest asked if there were 3 qualified bids submitted for the repair.

A: Mr. Gauntner answered that there were:

1)      Goodwin Roofing and Remodeling – $8,750 for flat roof only

2)     Hayden Builders – $27,598 for truss roof

3)     Adriatic Building and Maint. – $7, 238 – both flat and shingle roof (contracted)

Q: Mr. Vest asked Mr. Gauntner if he recommends that the Village also take the same course of action and charge the Fire District for repairs needed to Station #1.

A: Mr. Gauntner replied yes, if necessary. According to Mr. Gauntner, the main point is that the 1982 Lease Agreement states that the District is responsible for maintaining the building. The Ross Road building was given back to the Township in major disrepair.

Mr. Takacs commented that he has been a member of the Fire Board for many years and has a number of questions about the ability of Trustees who sit on both the Township Council and the Fire Board, and who know what is going on here at the District, yet never bring up the idea that there has to be accommodations made before turning the (Ross Road) building back over to the Township.

In an effort to put things in perspective, Mr. Takacs reported that, in 2008, the Board evaluated the Ross Road building and had the discussion about who owns the building because the roof was leaking so badly that the Elections Board was not sure they could use the building for voting. He questioned why the Township Trustees, who sat on the Fire Board, did not demand that the building be repaired in 2008?

In 2009, the boiler shut down and the Fire Board requested that the Building Committee get a cost estimate to make the building operational. The estimate was $80-100,000 and the Board, including the Township Trustees – one of which was Chairman of the Fire Board at the time – decided not to spend any District funds on the building and completely closed and shuttered the station. Mr. Takacs stated that our intent was clear at that time that the District was no longer going to be using the building. He questioned why, as Lessor, the Township didn’t address the issue of repairs needed to be done by the District back then? The answer is because the Fire Board was operating from the 1979 Lease Agreements in which the Township (and Village) was responsible for the repair and maintenance.

Mr. Takacs asked why in 2011 the Township Trustees, who again sat on the Fire Board, did not advise the Board that, in accordance with the Lease, repairs needed to be made before the building could be turned back over to the Township. The answer is, again, that the decision of the Fire Board not to repair the Ross Road building was still based on the 1979 Lease Agreement they believed was in place.

Mr. Takacs commented that it was the responsibility of the Township, as Lessor, to advise the Board in 2008 when the roof was leaking and the ownership question was debated –or- in 2009 when we abandoned the building clearly intending to give the building back -or- in 2011 when the building was being turned back over to them that, as Lessee, the District needed to repair the building. This did not happen. The Fire Board was never advised that there were Lease issues that needed to be resolved. According to Mr. Takacs, everyone knew that the building was in bad shape, and everyone knew that we were no longer using the building, and everyone knew that we were turning the building back over to the Township.

In conclusion, Mr. Takacs commented that, in 2009, the Township Trustees on the Fire Board voted not to put any more money into the Ross Road building, yet in 2011, the same Trustees asked for accommodations from the District for the roof repairs. He stated that he questions the timing of the whole issue.

Mr. Gauntner speculated that, if he had been a Township Trustee and a Fire Board member during this time, he would have done the research to obtain the correct information needed for making these kinds of decisions. He stated that Mr. Takacs’ explanation of the District’s understanding over the years does not change the fact that the Fire District is still responsible for the repairs under the 1982 Lease Agreement. He also stated that the District should have formally given the Township 90-days written notice of their intent to give the building back over to the Township in either 2009 or 2011.

Q: Mr. Takacs, again, reiterated that the Township Trustees who were on the Fire Board at the time, on behalf of the Township, should have had that discussion with the Fire Board – and they did not. He further stated that, in his opinion, if the Township wants to enforce the existing Lease to the letter, and if they want the District to pay for improvements because that was part of the Lease, he respectfully admonished Mr. Gaunter to understand that the Village also has a Lease with the District for St. #1 which is also callable in 90-days. The Village doesn’t have to pay any money to call the Lease or pay the $189,000 already negotiated as a fair settlement for that operation. He asked Mr. Gauntner if he really wants to get into a discussion about who is going to pay for what.

A: Mr. Gauntner answered that he has not seen the Village’s Lease and therefore can’t answer what he would do given that scenario.

Mr. Vest asked Mr. Szeman to recommend a next step.

Mr. Szeman stated that, as far as he can tell, in the 1970’s when the District was first established, dealings between both the Village and Township and the Fire District were very informal and have since memorialized with identical Lease Agreements being put into effect for Station #1 (North Lake St.) and #3 (Ross Road). Since the 1982 Lease Agreements were first discovered in the last few months, he has determined that the current Leases made the Fire District responsible for repairs. Station #1’s Lease is still in effect. Old St. #3’s Lease was in effect until they transferred possession of the building over to the Township – date unknown. Pursuant to the contract, the District was, in fact, liable for building repairs needed at the time of transfer of possession and, the Township should have submitted a claim at that time for those necessary repairs. Mr. Szeman remembered that, some time back, Mr. Brotzman did informally ask about the roof repairs and the District’s possible payment of a portion of the cost, but he did not perceive it as a formal claim. If the Township believes that the Ross Road property was not maintained in accordance with the contract at the time of surrender of possession, they should now submit a formal claim for said repairs and, if the property was not maintained, the District should pay the claim. Mr. Szeman also suggested that, if the Board wants to resolve this issue once and for all, the District should request a full waiver for future claims pursuant to the 1982 Lease once the Township’s claim has been submitted and finalized.

Mr. Gauntner thanked Mr. Szeman for bringing the waiver into the discussion. Mr. Gaunter reminded the Board that earlier in the meeting he had mentioned that his original reason for researching of the Fire Board minutes was because of an issue unrelated to the Ross Road roof repairs. Mr. Vest reminded Mr. Gauntner that a motion was still on the floor regarding the Ross Road roof repairs and that he would need to hold this new topic until after the current motion was discussed and resolved.

Mr. Szeman recommended that the Board not act on the motion currently before the Board until the Township, if desired, submits a claim and a full waiver has been signed finalizing the terms and conditions pursuant to the 1982 Ross Road Lease Agreement.

Mr. Gauntner declined to rescind his motion that the District reimburse the Township for $7,238.00 for the roof repairs at Ross Road.

Mr. Szeman, again, advised that, should the Board desire to approve the motion at hand, and pay the claim for $7,238 requested by the Township, it is his recommendation that the motion be conditioned on a full waiver of all future claims pursuant to the 1982 Ross Road Lease Agreement.

Chief Lutz asked that he be able to speak freely without fear of retribution from the group in attendance. Mr. Gauntner responded, “Absolutely”.

Chief Lutz reported that, due to poor record keeping and maintenance at the Fire District prior to 2009 when Tony Long and Nila Brass took over, the 1981 and 1982 Lease Agreements were not found until the move from Station #1 to the new Station #3 in October and November, 2013. Chief Lutz stated that, with all honesty, he cannot even be certain that the 1982 Leases are, in fact, the latest/current Leases.

Chief Lutz directed everyone’s attention to Page 3 of both the Village and the Township’s 1982 Lease Agreements and explained that, although it is stated in the agreement that snow removal will be done by the Village and the Township, the District has paid over $23,000 to Sandy Ridge Hardscapes for snow removal since 2010 alone. He stated that, in his opinion, if the Township or Village choose to enforce the existing Leases to the letter, the snow removal issue will require discussion and an appropriate resolution.

Mr. Gauntner agreed that his research of the Board minutes reflected an ongoing issue between the Village and Township over who was responsible for what with regards to snow removal at the stations.

Mr. Szeman explained that, if the Fire Board desires to pursue reimbursement for snow removal costs paid by the District, they will need to submit a formal competing claim to the Township and the Village requesting reimbursement. He further suggested that all formal competing claims be handled in a global settlement with, hopefully, a global resolution once all legal parties have had an opportunity to review and process all the “moving parts” and address possible conflict of interest.

Mr. Gaunter withdrew his motion and Mr. Wayman withdrew his second of the previously proposed motion requesting reimbursement from the Madison Fire District for the Ross Road 2011 Roof Repairs contracted by and paid for by Madison Township in 2011. Mr. Gauntner and Mr. Wayman both reserved the right to re-discuss the topic in the future.

Mr. Szeman recommended that all claims be formally made for audit purposes to make it clear that we weren’t just transferring funds between Municipal entities, but were actually settling a disputed issue.

Mr. Frager stated that he wants to “get it right” and asked who will be the point person to see that all these “moving parts” are organized and that the appropriate documents are compiled and submitted in a timely manner. Mr. Szeman answered that Chief Lutz will need to get the snow plow information to the Board so they can to decide if and what actions they choose to initiate. With the guidance from their own legal counsels, the Village and Township may also choose to submit claims and/or waivers. Each entity will probably get a legal opinion on whether or not the claim should be accepted or denied.

Mr. Frager commented that his concern revolves around the impending St. #1 negotiations between the Village and the District. Mr. Szeman replied that, if the Village were to receive a claim from the District relative to some outstanding expenses, the Village will have to take a strong look to see how it affects the agreement. The St. #1 agreement can supersede the claim if there is a waiver.

Mr. Vest asked Mr. Gauntner (Township), Mr. Takacs (Village) and Chief Lutz (District) to form a committee to represent all three entities, gather the information submitted and present it as one package. Mr. Gauntner reported that he will be out of town until the first week of July. At this point, no due date was issued.

Septic System at Ross Road Building:

Mr. Gauntner reported that the Township is currently evaluating the building on Ross Road and trying to determine how to best use the facility. In an effort to check out all the building systems, they needed to know what kind of septic system is there and where it is located. Lake County General Health District supplied them with 1963 Site Plans that showed the location of the septic tank and the leach beds. When the Township Service Department tried to locate the septic tank based on the Site Plans, they were unsuccessful. The Township contacted Retired Fire Chief Walt Zilke and he directed them to another area on the property behind the building. The General Health District and Mr. Gauntner have been researching County Records and Fire Board minutes to find out who and when the new septic tank and leach beds were installed.  The General Health District has no records of the new septic tank site and, as Mr. Gauntner advised earlier in the meeting, he has read Fire Board minutes of 1971 to 1987 and has found no record of anyone authorizing or installing the new septic system. Based on the blue-green PVC pipes and black corrugated plastic pipes installed, it is his guess that it was installed in the 1980’s or 1990’s. Mr. Gauntner will continue to read minutes into the 1990’s, but the bottom line is that someone installed a septic system at the old St. #3 without telling the General Health Department and they are not happy about it. The Township is stuck dealing with the issue and Mr. Gauntner is not sure where that will lead.

Mr. Wayman advised that it did not happen from 2000 forward while he has been on the board.


Mr. Vest and Mr. Szeman reported that due to the District’s 2015 Tax Budget being due at Lake County on Tuesday, July 15th, the July16th , 2014 Regular Fire Board meeting has to be rescheduled for Monday, July 14th, 2014@ 6:00pm at St.#3, 840 River Street, Madison.

Motion to reschedule the July 16th meeting to July 14, 2014 @ 6:00 pm by: Mr. Takacs Seconded by: Mr. Gauntner                           ROLL CALL: All ayes

The District Clerk was instructed to publish a Public Notice in the Star Beacon and the News-Herald announcing that a public hearing will be held on July 14th, 2014 @ 6:00pm at St.#3, 840 River Street, Madison to discuss the 2015 Tax Budget. Copies of the Budget are now on file for public inspection.

The District Clerk was also instructed to publish a Public Notice in the Star Beacon and the News-Herald announcing that the July Regular Fire Board meeting has been rescheduled from July 16th , 2014 @ 7:00 pm to July 14th, 2014 @6:00 pm at St.#3, 840 River Street, Madison.

Resolution #14-020 Roth 457 Funds:

Mr. Szeman reported that due to language concerns, this resolution is still being drafted and will be discussed in detail at the July 14th, 2014 Regular Fire Board meeting.

CHIEF’S REPORT – Chief Gene Lutz:                                           

Ladder Truck: Chief Lutz invited the board to inspect the recently purchase Ladder Truck in the St. #3 bay after the meeting.

Inspection Report: In board folders.

New Station #3 Punch List: Per Chief Lutz and Captain Kloski, the punch list continues to dwindle and final items are being completed (Gutters, HVAC, Back Concrete Sidewalk, Locks). Chief Lutz is still holding the final payment to Seitz Builders.

5” Hose Purchase: Chief Lutz reported that the District is purchasing 1000 feet of new spare hose at $4.86 per foot. Chief Warner went to Harrisburg with orders from several departments and was able to get the hose at a discounted price.

Grant Writing Service:Chief Lutz requested that the Board approve contracting with Grant Genie to write FEMA grants for us for a fee of $1,450. The Grant Genie writer has an 80% success rate with FEMA grants. Chief Lutz anticipates applying this year for a FEMA grant for a new lake boat and trailer, and if we are granted the funds, the Grant Genie fee will be part of the grant. If we are not awarded the grant, the fee for the next years’ application will be half of the $1,450.

Motion by: Mr. Gauntner, Seconded by: Mr. Takacs

ROLL CALL: All ayes

Blood Drive Challenge:   Chief Lutz asked everyone to put August 13, 2014 on their calendars for a Blood Drive Challenge between Madison Fire and Perry Fire. Additional details will be made available closer to the challenge date.

Water Rescue Call: Chief Lutz reported that crews responded to a water rescue today and rescued 5 people from jet skis. He commented that the motor is fine, but the District boat has been repaired several times and is not in good shape. Chief Lutz would like to look into a jet ski that converts into a four-wheeler and committed to keeping the board informed about his research.



Mr. Vest reminded everyone of the July 14th, 2014 Public Hearing/Regular Fire Board meeting @ 6:00 pm and the August 20th, 2014 Regular Fire Board meeting @ 7:00 pm at St. #3, 840 River Street, Madison.

Motion to adjourn @ 8:27pm by: Mr. Takacs

Seconded by: Mr. Frager

ROLL CALL:   All ayes