August 19, 2015


CALL TO ORDER @ 7:00 pm

ROLL CALL x Mr. Anderson x Mr. Takacs x Chief Lutz

x Mr. Frager x Mr. Vest x Ms. Clapp x Mr. Gauntner x Mr. Wayman x Ms. Dame



Minutes of 07/08/15 Special Meeting & Regular Session

Motion to approve as presented by: Mr. Vest Seconded by: Mr. Anderson ROLL CALL: All ayes

Minutes of 07/21/15 Special Meeting

Motion to approve as presented by: Mr. Gauntner Seconded by: Mr. Takacs

ROLL CALL: All ayes

Minutes of 07/29/15 Special Meeting

Motion to approve as presented by: Mr. Anderson Seconded by: Mr. Vest

ROLL CALL: All ayes

Minutes of 08/01/15 Special Meeting

Motion to approve as presented by: Mr. Gauntner Seconded by: Mr. Wayman

ROLL CALL: (5) Ayes; (1) Abstain (Vest)

BILLS & PAYROLL (July 2 – August 12, 2015)

Bills ($321,324.46) and payroll ($226,074.98) totaling $547,399.44 are motioned for acceptance and payment.

Mr. Takacs pointed out that Check #8606 dated 07/14/15 to Huntington Bank is for Station #3’s Debt Service and includes both principle and interest. The next payment, which will be for interest only, is due in January, 2016.

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

Seconded by: Mr. Vest ROLL CALL: All ayes 2


OPENING PUBLIC PORTION: Chief Lutz introduced George Miller and Bob Wright from the Painesville Elks Association in attendance to formally present a $750 grant to Madison Fire District from the Ohio Elks Association. Mr. Miller explained that this annual grant goes to a Governmental Agency to purchase items that are not in their budget. As reported at the July 8th, 2015 meeting, Chief Lutz purchased two cameras and a Crime Scene Kit for FIU investigations. Mr. Wayman thanked the gentlemen on behalf of the Fire Board and the District.


Part Time Labor Management: Chief Lutz notified the Board that the Part Time Labor Management Committee will meet with Part Time Union Representatives on Monday, August 24th, 2015 at 09:30 am.

District Health Insurance: Chief Lutz reported that he has begun working with OPEC (Ohio Consortium for Insurances) to identify other potential insurance sources in an effort to reduce costs.


Madison Country Club Fire: Mr. Gauntner asked if Chief Lutz expects to receive any reimbursement from the insurance company for costs incurred (approx. $5,000) as a result of the Madison Country Club fire. Chief stated that these costs are not recoverable.


Resolution #15-022 Surplus Gear, Equipment, Vehicles, etc.:

This resolution authorizes the Fire Chief to sell/donate gear, equipment, vehicles and other items deemed obsolete or not needed for public purposes.

Motion by: Mr. Gauntner Seconded by: Mr. Frager ROLL CALL: All ayes

Resolution #15-023 – Non-EMS Ambulance Fees/Rates:

This resolution establishes reasonable charges for the use of Non-Emergency ambulance transport services for residents (soft billing) and non-residents to help offset the actual costs of providing, maintaining and improving services to the community.

Motion by: Mr. Frager Seconded by: Mr. Gauntner ROLL CALL: All ayes

Resolution #15-024 – EMS (Emergency) Ambulance Fees/Rates:

This resolution establishes reasonable charges for the use of Emergency ambulance transport services for residents (soft billing) and non-residents to help offset the actual costs of providing, maintaining and improving services to the community.

Motion by: Mr. Frager Seconded by: Mr. Gauntner ROLL CALL: All ayes 3


District Property – (2) Adjacent Lots on Burns Road:

Chief Lutz requested that the Board consider putting (2) District-owned lots on Burns Road up for public auction or public bid. Stacy Dame, Legal Counsel, recommended that the properties (.76 acres & .69 acres) be appraised in lieu of using the Lake County Auditor’s assessed value of $11,000 and $10,000 respectively. Mr. Takacs inquired whether the lots will also need to be surveyed. Mr. Gauntner stated that, in his experience, if the original deed with the legal description properly describes the property, a survey will probably not be needed, but he agrees that the properties should be commercially appraised because the County Auditor’s appraisal is notoriously low. Ms. Dame stated that the County will notify the District if a survey is required.

Mr. Vest asked what account the potential proceeds will be put into, and Chief Lutz replied that it would go back into the Capital Fund.

Mr. Gauntner agreed to research the original purchase information and report to the Board at the next meeting. He asked Chief Lutz if he had checked with the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District to see if the lots are indeed wetlands and Chief replied that he has not.

2013 -2014 District Audit:

Joanne Clapp, CFO, reported that the State Auditors are wrapping up the 2013-2014 District Audit and will be scheduling an exit meeting with the Audit Committee soon. She thanked Nila Brass, District Clerk, for being well organized and efficient in finding records requested by the audit staff.

Chief’s Report:

1) Executive Session: Chief Lutz requested an Executive Session following the Regular Meeting to discuss Station #1 litigation.

2) Resolution #15-019 Language: With regard to recent discussions about the language “in excess of 10 mills” in Levy Resolution #15-019, Chief reported that, per his discussion with the Lake County Auditor’s Office, the Madison Fire District is an “Outside Taxing Agency” because the total millage includes the County, Village, Township, and Madison Schools.

3) Financial Power Point Presentation – Capt. Kloski: Captain Kloski narrated a power point presentation showing a series of new reports that will be distributed to employees and the Fire Board every month. The project was developed by Captain John Kloski, Lt. Tod Baker and Lt. Justin Meister, along with invaluable support from Chief Gene Lutz, Joanne Clapp, CFO, and Nila Brass, District Clerk. These new documents reflect an overall snapshot of the finances, including charts, and are an excellent resource for explaining, in layman terms for easy understanding, what funds are coming in and what funds are going out. All employees will be shown this power point presentation and will be trained on how to read and understand the new reports.



3) Power Point Presentation – Capt. Kloski (cont.):

This is an essential tool for the staff to keep in touch with costs and will be an excellent tool for the Administration and the Fire Board for budgeting next year. Annual budget figures (to the dollar) are supplied so everyone can see how much has been budgeted and spent in each account and how much is left at the end of any given month throughout the year.

The overview is broken down by category (i.e. salaries, benefits, vehicle maintenance, fuel, utilities, contracted services, insurances, uniforms, capital fund, dispatch services, debt reduction, etc.) and one can see what percentage of the budget has been used – or conversely, still available – at the end of each month throughout the year. A check register of all monies spent each month will be included in the overview packet to be used by anyone with questions about what was spent in each category. All employees are encouraged to become more aware of the day to day realities and offer constructive input on ways to reduce costs and improve the overall financial picture.

Mr. Vest thanked Captain Kloski and everyone involved in the project for their excellent work and asked that the board continue to receive the new reports on a monthly basis.

Copies of these reports are available in the District Office.

4) Checkbook Program: Chief Lutz asked the board to review and consider Josh Mandel’s “Checkbook” program and decide whether they want to participate.

5) Cost Cutting Items: Chief Lutz reported that he will be scheduling staff at minimum manning effective immediately. There will be (3) Firefighter/Paramedics at St. #2, (3) Firefighter/Paramedics at St. #3 and (2) Transfer Program Paramedics at St. #3. He will leave the 9th position at St. #2 open from 06-18 to cover hydrant and hose testing until November. Chief Lutz will re-evaluate the manning issue in November and possibly move the 9th position to 18-06 to make hours available to personnel who work day time positions in other industries.

6) Madison Township Police – Thank You: Chief Lutz thanked Chris Anderson, Ryan Shannon, Eric Sharp and Jesse Sopko for their assistance on July 30th, 2015 with a truck fire at Dock and Cunningham Roads.


Larry Armstrong of 2408 Bay Meadows asked if the 2.0 levy slated for the November Ballot was a renewal or a replacement. Chief Lutz explained that we are taking a 2.0 permanent levy and replacing it with a 4.5 permanent levy. 5



Mr. Armstrong stated that, at the last Special meeting, Mr. Gauntner commented that we spent $240,000 more than the revenue received in 2014. He asked where that money comes from to cover these overages. Mr. Gauntner explained that those additional costs come out of funds carried over from the previous year, but we do not want to continue to use up this cushion.

Mr. Armstrong asked why the budget was estimated so low at the beginning of 2015 and why now, two-thirds of the way through the year, there is a shortage. The Chief explained that he based the 2015 budget on previous years. When he reduced staffing (and the budget) by 36 hours per day at the beginning of the year, he did not realize that last year’s part time budget was already understated due to an “average wage” miscalculation. Mr. Armstrong stated that, in his opinion, it is a serious issue to cut manpower and services. He asked if the staffing issue will be resolved if the levy passes. Chief Lutz stated that hiring more full time staff will eliminate the manning problem because we will not have to rely so heavily on a part time staff that is becoming less reliable.

Mr. Gauntner further explained that the District was without a Chief Fiscal Officer from September, 2014 through March, 2015. He stated that Chief Lutz did an admirable job covering the fiscal officer position while at the same time running an entire department. “We had a bad year last year with our whole fiscal office and we are trying to straighten that out……you can’t continue to eat into your carryover or you won’t survive very long and, if we don’t pass this levy, we are going to have some really tough decisions.”


Motion to adjourn to Executive Session @ 8:20 by: Mr. Anderson

Seconded by: Mr. Gauntner ROLL CALL: All ayes

No regular business to follow Executive Session.

Motion to adjourn to Regular Session @ 8:42 by: Mr. Anderson

Seconded by: Mr. Vest ROLL CALL: All ayes

Motion to adjourn Regular Session @ 8:43 by: Mr. Anderson

Seconded by: Mr. Takacs ROLL CALL: All ayes

_______________________ _______________________

Mr. Pete Wayman, Chairman Nila Brass, District Clerk

August 1, 2015


CALL TO ORDER @ 10:00 am

ROLL CALL           x Mr. Anderson                          x Mr. Takacs                   x Chief Lutz

x Mr. Frager                              - Mr. Vest                      x Ms. Clapp                                        x Mr. Gauntner                           x Mr. Wayman                        x Ms. Dame                                                                                      

Mr. Gauntner made a motion to bring back on the floor the discussion revolving around the 4.5 mill continuing levy that was motioned for and voted down on 07-29-15.

Motion by: Mr. Gauntner             Seconded by: Mr. Anderson         ROLL CALL: All ayes

Mr. Wayman explained that the Fire District needs their levy updated and he stated that he thinks it would be fair to give the public the facts, show them the levy proposal, put the levy on the ballot and let them make the decision if we make cuts. Per Mr. Wayman, if we start making cuts on our own, we are not being fair to them. This District has a very good reputation, we never hear any complaints about our Fire and EMS people, and that they do a great job for the community. Cutting services at this time would be a mistake in my estimation. We need to propose and pass this resolution and put some faith in your leadership. The Chief is a leader in this department and he knows what is going on here and makes the suggestions. We need to put some faith in the people we hire in this department.

Mr. Takacs commented that some of the Board members were unprepared as to the need for the levy and it was not explained in terms that they were comfortable with. He requested that Chief Lutz review the issues.

Chief Lutz began by reminding everyone that we began 2015 with less carryover funds than normal and he immediately reduced the schedule by 36 hours in an effort to reduce costs. He reported that he learned a lot about the financial situation while covering the Chief Fiscal Officers position. The operation of the Fire Department consists of 1) The General Fund which is 6.48 mills, 2) The EMS Fund which consists of $600,000 for EMS and $350,000 for debt reduction and 3) The Capital Fund for operations. Each fund has outlying things that cause it to go up or down. With the General Fund, the evaluation of the community will cause the fund to increase or decrease. Replacement or additional levies can increase the General Fund. Expenses also affect the General Fund. Vehicle maintenance costs, technology, contract agreements are a necessary part of doing business and we make every effort to keep these costs to a minimum.

The EMS Fund, which supplements the General Fund, is affected by call volume and needs to be adjusted to accurately reflect increases and decreases by call volumes which are variable. Insurance company payments affect this fund as well. When the Transfer Program was implemented, Part Time hourly wages increased due to additional manning. Over the years, however, budgeted Part Time wages were not properly adjusted for step raises and contract increases and by 2015 are grossly understated.

Personnel costs are a major part of the budget and need to be closely monitored. Currently we have 8 minimum manning; (3) at St. #2 – (3) at St. #3 – and (2) Transfer Paramedics. The schedule consists of (4) Full Time and (7) Part Time employees. Many of our Part Timers have taken full time positions at other departments or at hospitals and are not reliable for filling open shifts in our schedule which has caused our Full Timers to do mandatory overtime shifts which is very hard on the budget.

Chief Lutz reported that he would like to replace our 2.0 mill levy with a 5.0 mill levy because it is only bringing in 1.7 mills. The Board is concerned that 5.0 is too high and has suggested a 4.5 mill levy. If the levy passes, we will receive $1,623.430. A total of $600,000 is already in the budget.  $500,000 will be used to hire (6) Full Time employees which will allow us to have (6) Full Timers and 3-4 Part Timers per shift. The plan is to hire (3) new Full Timers in 2016 and (3) in 2017. The remaining $500,000 will be used to breathe life into line items in the budget where shortages exist. We were informed just recently that our dispatch contract will be increased. In addition, we still need to finalize both the Full and Part Time Contracts. It is also our intention to put some money into the Capital Fund which we have not been able to do for the past 2 years.

If the levy fails, Chief Lutz plans to sell the properties on Burns Road and McMackin Road. He will sell an older squad, an older chase vehicle, and if necessary, a reserve squad and engine. Another option is to increase our billing charges. If additional cuts are required, Chief Lutz will to cut daytime Transfers or the entire program, as necessary. Minimum manning may need to drop to (6) – (2) Full Time and (1) Part Time at each station which is dangerous when it comes fires. The Chief will make every effort not to drop minimum manning at night to keep additional personnel for fire calls. Additional changes will include only transporting to Tri-Point or Geneva Hospitals for EMS calls and Lake West Hospital for Stemi patients only. Township and Village Police Department will have to handle persons who are pink slipped. Public education programs will be affected if staff has to leave to go on calls. Mutual Aid will be relied on to cover in the case of overlapping calls which will reduce billing revenue. No station will close and no one will be laid off, however hours will be reduced.

Mr. Gauntner asked what the annual debt is for Station #3. Chief Lutz replied $350,000.

Mr. Gauntner asked what the anticipated deficit is for 2015 which Chief replied $300,000, but, if the levy passes, 2016 will not end in a deficit position. Mr. Gauntner thanked the Chief for all the information he supplied for the Board today. He stated that now he has what he needs to answer public questions and try to defend the proposed levy. He assured Chief Lutz that his vote did not reflect his faith in him as Chief, his vote reflected the fact that he needed more information.

Mr. Takacs stated that there have been a lot of questions about the financing of Station #3. Recently, there has been a lot of criticism about the District’s decision to build the facility. Again, Board members from that time can reflect the idea that there was a huge demand from the south end of Madison about the equity of protection. The old Station #3 was not manned. With the reduction of staff in the Village there was really a dependency on Station #2 to provide services all the way down to the south end of Madison so the response times were a concern for a lot of folks down there for both Fire and EMS services. Due to the administrative offices, and Training Center, Station #3 is a double station. If you were to build another station, you would not need the entire front offices or the training center and would only build the fire quarters. When we researched the ability to build this facility, we determined that the best way to do that was to research professional organizations about how best to finance it. We were given two options – a 20-year bond or go the debt service route. Squire, Sanders & Dempsey recommended that we take out (20) one-year mortgages because bonds were expensive and interest was low. The first five years are interest rate fixed and there on out the interest rate is negotiable. We knew that a certain part of our operating budget was going to pay that debt service, we knew what it would be and we were taking advantage of the interest rates especially after year 6 because it’s negotiable. The debt service was written into the EMS Funding because our levies were not able to perform well enough. At the time, the Board questioned what we would do if we no longer did EMS billing and the answer was that it would be paid by the General Fund. Some people have tried to say that there was a mistake in the way we funded this building. This building is a state-of-the-art facility and communities don’t build fire stations every year or every 10 years. Typically most communities build them once in a generation. We built this station with Madison’s potential growth in mind and we have to absorb that so we don’t have to build another in 10 years down the road that will cost 8 million dollars to build. We need to put to rest the notion that there was an irresponsibility by the Board in financing this facility. The station was built with Madison’s best interest at heart and the financing was done with the best advice we were able to obtain.

As a new member of the Board, Mr. Frager stated that he echoed Mr. Gauntner’s comments 100%. When you are asking residents to take money out of their pockets and put it into yours there need to be a plan in place. The information submitted today gave the clarity I was looking for and gives me things to look for and follow up on in the future and the effort that was put into this is absolutely appreciated. This is something we can, in good conscience, give to the public and let the public decide.

Joanne Clapp offered to print off and explain any financial reports requested by the Board or the public.

Resolution #15-021 – Replacement 4.5 Mill Continuing Levy:

This Resolution declares it necessary to submit to the electors of the Madison Fire District, the question of the replacement of a 2.0 mill levy by a 4.5 mill levy for a continuing term on the November 3, 2015 election for the purposes of providing and maintaining fire, ambulance, or emergency equipment, buildings, and services in the District.

Motion to approve and submit to the Board of Elections by: Mr. Anderson

Seconded by: Mr. Takacs                                                               ROLL CALL: All ayes

Motion to adjourn @ 10:46 by: Mr. Anderson

Seconded by: Mr. Takacs                                                               ROLL CALL:   All ayes

_______________________                           _______________________

Mr. Pete Wayman, Chairman                               Nila Brass, District Clerk