October 21, 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                                                                                      

PLEDGE OF ALLIGENCE

Minutes of 09/16/15 Regular Session

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

BILLS & PAYROLL (September 10th – October 15th, 2015):

Bills ($72,287.89) and payroll ($210,617.11) totaling $282,905.00 are motioned for acceptance and payment.

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

Seconded by: Mr. Takacs                                                               ROLL CALL: All ayes

OPENING PUBLIC PORTION:Jeremy Winfield, 7722 Norton Dr. Madison, stated that the Fire District is asking for more money for the current levy and asked, “What exactly is that going to bring for the Fire Department?” Chief Lutz explained that the District has revenue from (3) levies (2.0+2.0+2.48 = 6.48 mils total) which are used to fund the fire stations. The 2003 continuous levy (2.0 mil) is being replaced by a 4.5 mil levy. He answered that the tax on a $100,000 home will increase from $200.00 to $305.00 per year which will bring in $1.6 million to fund the fire stations. Chief Lutz further answered that the additional funds will be used to hire Full Time people.

Mr. Winfield asked, “How is this fire station (#3) currently being funded? Chief Lutz answered that the District’s Non-ER Transfer Program funds are being used to pay down the debt. Mr. Winfield asked the amount of our (the District’s) monthly payment. Chief Lutz answered that the Fire District makes one payment per year and that the annual payment, for the first 5 years, is approximately $278,000. The annual payment for the remaining 15 years is approximately $325,000 per year.

Mr. Winfield asked what the total cost was to build St. #3 and Chief answered $3.5 million. Mr. Winfield asked how much the District will pay out over the 20 years, including interest. Chief Lutz stated that he did not know those numbers.   Mr. Winfield stated that the information he got, from Chief Lutz’s own statement in the News-Herald, was $3.8 million. Chief Lutz commented that the News-Herald reporter did not tell the whole story. Mr. Winfield stated that $300,000 isn’t much of a difference when you’re talking $3 million and that he would be safe to say that we (the District) are $5 million in debt for this fire station.” Chief Lutz explained that there are (20) individual (annual) bonds with individual terms to keep the cost down and he did not want to guess at a total for the 20 years.

Mr. Winfield asked why the District would build St. #3 if they were short-handed. Chief Lutz disagreed that there was a manpower shortage at that time, and, in fact, reminded Mr. Winfield that, due to the Transfer Program started in 2011, he had actually added (6) Paramedics (2 per shift) and the District was running with 11 people. He explained that Madison was the first to implement this kind of program and, in the beginning, he had no clue what it was going to bring. The program exceeded expectations and, in the last couple of years, the District has been averaging 1200-1400 Transfers which brings in between $479,000 – $500,000 per year.

Mr. Winfield stated that the District has been running off the same levy since 2003. Chief Lutz, again, explained that the District has (3) levies, a 1998 that has recently been renewed, one from 2003, and one from 2006. Mr. Winfield stated that, since we (the District) have been working with the same levies for many years, he concludes that we are very familiar with our budget, so why are we sitting in a $3.8 million fire station, and why are you now telling the New-Herald that you are going to do staff cuts? Chief Lutz explained that proposed staff cuts are not due to a lack of money. Staff cuts are a manning issue because we can’t keep part time people. They are going elsewhere and getting full time jobs. Mr. Winfield stated that he believes the reason the District can’t keep part time people is because of the uncertainty – that in 2 months they could be sent down the road. Chief Lutz replied that the District has not laid off anyone or sent anyone away. Mr. Winfield disagreed and stated, “… you threatened, you said on July 23rd that there will be staff cuts.” Chief Lutz tried, once again, to explain that the District will have to reduce the Manning schedule, but that does not mean we will be laying anybody off or getting rid of anybody – we don’t have enough part timers as it is. He explained that the Manning schedule calls for 4 full time and 7 part time personnel. We have already reduced that by 3 (the schedule, not employees) … Mr. Winfield interrupted and stated, “The fact of the matter is you could have had as many people as you wanted working here if you wouldn’t have spent $3.8 million.” Chief Lutz disagreed with his reasoning.

Mr. Takacs reminded Mr. Winfield that back when we first discussed building Station #3, the biggest complaint from the firefighters and paramedics was that the living conditions at St. #1 and St. #2 were substandard, the living arrangements were insufficient and there was not enough places to put people.  There simply was not enough room to put 11 firefighters and paramedics between the two stations. We could hire 20 firefighters but there was no place to put them. The reality is we had to have the facility to house people.

Mr. Takacs further explained that one of the reasons we built this station in the location and size we did was because of the growth we anticipated in Madison. He also reminded Mr. Winfield that the residents of Madison wanted Fire and EMS protection in the south end. We built this station for the future which is exactly why you build fire stations like this. You don’t build for today, you build for tomorrow. There were a lot of professions people engaged in this process that knew a lot more about building fire stations and manning than you or I do. Mr. Winfield acknowledged the point. Mr. Takacs further commented that the District tried to remodel St. #2, but found out that that was impractical.

Mr. Winfield stated that he lives in a $200,000 home. He asked why the District couldn’t have built a $200,000 addition on the back of St. #1 instead of putting that barn back there.

Ms. Stephanie Landgraf, District Legal Counsel, interjected and instructed Mr. Winfield that, as a procedural point, this was his time to comment on things, but not to engage in a question and answer session. Mr. Winfield replied, “Well, I guess I’m just wasting my time as a tax payer if I can’t come in here and ask my questions.” Ms. Landgraf stated that he is certainly welcome to express his opinion, but posing a question expecting an exchange is not proper. She, again, encouraged him to express his opinion to the Board, but explained that they are not obligated to engage in a “back-and-forth” to each question.

Mr. Wayman tried to explain, “It wasn’t a barn that you folks built……..Mr. Winfield interrupted and stated, “I know what it is, it’s a waste of money. My parents have a fixed income and you’re asking for more money out of them when they can’t afford it. That’s the facts. For nothing…for this big glorious place…but I’m leaving, because I’m not welcome, that’s fine. Mr. Winfield left the meeting as Mr. Wayman assured him he was always welcome at the Fire Board meetings.

COMMITTEE REPORTS: None to Report.

OLD BUSINESS:  None to Report.

NEW BUSINESS:None to Report.                                                                                      

*Italicized portion in paragraph 3 above reflects correction in spelling of Legal Counsel’s last name and was approved by the Fire Board on 11/18/15.

CHIEF’S REPORT:                                                                                                          10-21-15

1)      Inspection Report: In Board Folder. Chief Lutz informed the Board that, because Captain Kloski is no longer employed by the Madison Fire District, the number of inspections will probably decline until other personnel are up-to-speed to take over this responsibility.

Chief Lutz also reported that it has recently been discovered that Top Coat, a Madison Village business for 7 years, is unregistered in any County, Village or Fire District database.   All parties are working together to remedy this problem.

Mr. Gauntner inquired about consultations and/or inspections conducted at Thunder Hill Golf Course and Lakeland Living Opportunities on Dave Drive.                                          

2)     Tour Bus Donation: On September 28, 2015, Madison Fire District crews responded to a tour bus fire on I-90 at Rt. 528. The tour organizers sent a $500 donation to thank the firefighters, paramedics and administrative staff for the compassionate care the District extended to the tour group while they waited for a replacement bus to arrive.

3)     Fire Calls Update: Chief Lutz reported on the status of several fire related calls:

*Madison Country Club – A person pleaded guilty – Sentencing in November.

*House fire on Elm Street – Still under investigation.

*Apartment fire in Fairport – Madison Fire District personnel responded to assist

with FIU investigation – One patient Life-flighted to hospital.

*District crews responded to Avery Dennison’s industrial fire in Painesville City.

*Large Unauthorized Open Burning on 10/20/15, 7 pm – incident reported to the

State EPA.

4)     Engines: All (3) Engines passed their Pump Tests and Ground Ladder Tests.

5)     St. #2 Generator: Station #2’s generator has finally been repaired – cost $2,377.

6)     Suicide Training: Rae Grady, ADAMHS Board (Lake County Alcohol and Drug Addiction Mental Health Services), conducted suicide training which included the Madison Village and Township Police Departments.

7)     Lake Health EMS Training: Lake Health conducted new cervical collar protocol training with District personnel. The training was video recorded to be viewed by employees who were unable to attend the session.

8)    Haunted House: On-going procedural and safety discussions are being conducted to approve or deny permission for a haunted house at Thunder Hill Golf Course.

9)      Workman’s Compensation Injury: One District Firefighter is off-duty due to a knee injury sustained dismounting Engine #2124. Chief Lutz reported that there is a 24” drop from the cab step to the ground and that he has ordered steps be installed to eliminate future injuries of this nature. All other engines will be examined to be sure they do not pose a similar risk.

10) Insurance Service Office (ISO) Ratings: On September 27, 2015, ISO will be here to evaluate Madison’s ratings which include review of Pump tests, Hose records, Training records, Fire Incident records, etc.

11)  Donations: Anna Bloom, who loved the Madison Fire District, left $5,000 in her will to the District at her recent passing. Per Chief Lutz, these funds will be put into a CD until an appropriate memorial project is determined.

The distribution schedule of funds from the long-standing Higgins trust has been concluded and the $15,000 in the fund will also be converted to a CD until an appropriate memorial project is determined.

12) Fire Corp: Chief Lutz reported that he has met with leaders of several different volunteer groups and legal advisors to further define and develop pre-plans for a proposed volunteer program in Madison.

13) Financial Overview: Mr. Frager asked if a current Financial Overview report was available. Chief Lutz reported that Lt. Baker is working on last minute adjustments and would forward the report to both the Board and all employees shortly.

CLOSING PUBLIC PORTION:None to report.

CLOSING BOARD COMMENTS:

Mr. Vest asked if Firefighters would be at the polls on November 3rd. Chief replied yes.

Mr. Vest asked if Mr. Winfield (opening public portion) was a Firefighter. Chief Lutz reported that he is a union cement finisher who worked on the St. #1 Training Center and St. #3. Mr. Vest commented that Mr. Winfield and his union brothers and sisters got nice jobs because of Fire District projects and, even though it may have cost a little more, he appreciated the quality work performed.

For clarity purposes, Mr. Takacs commented that, in 2008, when decisions were being made regarding the substandard conditions at St. #1 and St. #2, the General Fund was solid and the Transfer Program had begun to generate new EMS revenues for the District. The Board decided to take advantage of this solid financial period and invest in the buildings to improve the overall conditions for the Firefighters and Paramedics. The back addition at St. #1 was originally planned as a storage facility, but, due to input by Officers and Firefighters, was redesigned to include a much needed Training Center which resulted in increased costs. At the time, the Board responded to the needs and requests of existing department staff.

By 2011, the renovations to St. #1 and St. #2 had sparked many Madison residents to insist on equitable Fire and EMS coverage in the south. The Board began the necessary process of addressing the community’s concerns, developed a Master Plan, and after years of diligent, painstaking planning, financed and built St. #3 with the future in mind.

Today, in 2015, our current money concerns are not based in our ability to maintain the facilities we have. The fact is, the District has met all payments and debt reduction responsibilities to date. As Chief Lutz has explained many times, our request for an increase in the levy is based on the fact that we must hire more full time people and eliminate our dependency on a steady stream of part timers who eventually leave to take full time jobs elsewhere.

Mr. Wayman stated that, over the years, the Board made necessary updates to the buildings as needed. The people of Madison came to Board meetings and petitioned the Board for equitable solutions to their needs. We followed the recommendations of the Master Plan and we must strive to carry on and do the best we can with the end result.

The Madison Fire Board offered no apologies for decisions made in the past and committed to continue responding to the needs of Fire District personnel and the residents of Madison.

Mr. Wayman reminded everyone of the November 18th Fire Board Meeting at 7 pm in the St. #3 Training Center.

Motion to adjourn @ 7:40 by: Mr. Anderson               Seconded by: Mr.Vest

ROLL CALL:   All ayes

_______________________                           _______________________

Mr. Pete Wayman, Chairman                               Nila Brass, District Clerk