November 23, 2015

CALL TO ORDER @ 10:00 am

ROLL CALL           – 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 ALLEGIANCE

SPECIAL MEETING

Mr. Wayman requested a motion to adjourn to Executive Session to discuss the 2013-2014 State Post Audit Review.

Motion to adjourn to Executive Session @ 5:03 pm by: Mr.Vest

Seconded by: Mr. Frager                                                                           ROLL CALL: All ayes

Motion to reconvene to the Special Meeting @ 6:03 pm by: Mr. Vest

Seconded by: Mr. Gauntner                                                                     ROLL CALL: All ayes

FISCAL OVERVIEW:

Mr. Gauntner stated that, in Executive Session, the Board had a lengthy discussion with the State Auditors regarding budgetary matters. Pursuant to said discussion, Mr. Gaunter made a motion authorizing the Fiscal Officer to make the corrections requested by the State Auditor and further allow her to adjust the funds based on those recommendations so that we may comply with the prescribed 5-day response period.

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

March, 2016 Primary – Levy/Millage:

Mr. Wayman suggested that the Board hold off on putting the levy back on the ballot until the Board/the District get its financials lined up properly. He stated that March, 2016 was too soon and suggested that the Board reconsider the issue for the General November Election.

Mr. Gauntner emphasized that the need for additional money is there, but he thinks the March Primary is too soon after being voted down in the past November Election. In addition, he reasoned that we need some time to assess the whole budgetary situation, formulate a strategy to notify the public of our need and promote the levy properly. Mr. Gauntner suggested that we work as a team, limp through 2016 and consider the November Election next fall.

Mr. Frager asked about the deadlines for putting a levy on the March ballot. Ms. Stacy Dame, Legal Counsel, stated that we need to have (2) Special Meetings to approve (2) Resolutions:

1)      A resolution to Certify the Millage with the Lake County Auditor’s Office, and get a

current valuation based on that millage, and

2) A resolution reflecting the Board’s desire to put the levy on the March, 2016 ballot.

The second resolution above must be filed with the Lake County Board of Elections by December 16, 2015.

Mr. Takacs commented that he believes many of the public were unaware of the true nature of our current fiscal and operational situation and that he agrees with Mr. Gauntner that we must do a better job educating and promoting the levy issue with respect to our changing needs.

Mr. Gauntner committed to gathering deadline dates for next year’s November Election so that there is adequate time to prepare and submit the required resolutions and other documentation, as well as schedule special meetings and other public interactions.

Mr. Vest stated that we need to put together a decent campaign and work together to get the information out to the public.

Mr. Frager stated that he doesn’t have the experience that others have, but he stated that many of the residents expressed a concern that there was some kind of divide within the Fire District.

If we are to succeed, we must learn from the past and work as a team by developing a trust for each other and communicating with each other.

Mr. Wayman stated that, by Board consensus, the Madison Fire Board will not be putting a levy on the March, 2016 Primary ballot.

Chief Lutz suggested that the Board put together a “Think Tank” group consisting of FT Firefighters, PT Firefighters, Paramedics, Board members, etc. to work together on a plan to accomplish our goals (i.e. how to get more full time and part time employees). Mr. Wayman agreed that it sounded like a good idea and proposed that they set up a Think Tank group at the January Reorganization meeting.

PUBLIC PORTION: No comments.

CLOSING BOARD COMMENT: No comments.

Mr. Wayman reminded everyone of the December 16th, 2015 Budget Public Hearing @ 5:00 pm and Regular Session @ 7:00 pm.

 

Motion to adjourn @ 6:15 pm by: Mr. Vest

Seconded by: Mr. Frager                                                               ROLL CALL:   All ayes

_______________________                           _______________________

Mr. Pete Wayman, Chairman                               Nila Brass, District Clerk

November 18, 2015

CALL TO ORDER @ 7:00 pm

ROLL CALL           – Mr. Anderson (OOT)              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:

Minutes of 10/21/15 Regular Session

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

BILLS & PAYROLL (October 16th, 2015 – November 12th, 2015):

Bills ($37,366.35) and payroll ($147,622.70) totaling $184,989.05 are motioned for acceptance and payment.

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

Seconded by: Mr. Frager                                                   ROLL CALL: All ayes

OPENING PUBLIC PORTION:No Comments.

COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Insurance Committee: Chief Lutz reported that the Insurance Committee would be meeting on Thursday, November 19th @ 2:00 pm.

OLD BUSINESS:  None to Report.

NEW BUSINESS:

2016 Appropriations Budget:

Joanne Clapp, CFO, asked for confirmation from the Board that there will be a quorum for the December 16th meeting so that the Board can consider and vote on the 2016 Appropriations Budget.

Mr. Takacs commented that, due to line item adjustments being made at the end of 2015, the numbers may change and therefore motioned that the Board consider a Temporary Appropriations Budget (100% Debt Services and 35% Operational), rather than a Final Budget, with the provision of amending and finalizing the 2016 Appropriations Budget in April, 2016. The Board requested that the Temporary Legislation be brought forward for consideration and approval at the December 16th Regular Meeting to maintain operations at the turn of the new year.

 

Motion by: Mr. Takacs                Seconded by: Mr. Vest                 ROLL CALL: All ayes                                                                   

December Workshop – Budget Review/Education:

Mr. Takacs suggested that the Board conduct a workshop in December to allow members to review all the areas of the budget in greater detail, and to rework the Chart of Accounts with respect to line item breakdowns in an effort to add clarity and understanding for decision making purposes. Mr. Wayman suggested that the Board meet at 5:00 pm on December 16th prior to the December Regular Session @ 7:00 pm. The Board agreed and instructed the District Clerk to advertise the workshop in the newspaper per ORC regulations.

2013-2014 State Exiting Audit:

Joanne Clapp, CFO, reported that the Board needs to schedule a date for the 2013-2014 Post Audit Conference with the State Auditor’s Office. Per Mr. Gauntner, the Board must, by statute, meet in Executive Session. The Board scheduled this Special Meeting for Monday, November 23rd, 2015 @ 8:00 am in the St. #3 Conference Room. Mr. Takacs commented that it is essential that all Board members plan to attend. The Board instructed the District Clerk to advertise the Special Meeting in the newspaper per ORC regulations.

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

*See update to topics and time for this meeting on page 3 under “District Levy (cont.)”.

District Levy: Mr. Gauntner reported that he met recently with Chief Lutz to discuss the issue of the levy not being passed on November 3rd and what the cost will be to put the levy back on the ballot in the spring. Per Mr. Gauntner, 2016 is a Federal Election year so there will be no cost to put the levy back on the ballot except for the cost ($200-$300) of the legal ad required to be published in the newspaper. He further reported that the Presidential Primary is March 15, 2016 (not May) and, if the Board so chooses to put the levy back on the ballot in March, all necessary paperwork must be filed with the Lake County Board of Elections office by December 16th, 2015, which means a decision must be made at tonight’s meeting on how the Board plans to proceed with the levy issue.   In addition, it will be necessary to schedule a couple of Special Meetings in the next month to generate the two pieces of legislation that will need to be passed which are the Resolution to Certify/County Auditor Valuation and, if the Board so chooses, a subsequent resolution to put the levy back on the ballot at an agreed-upon millage.

Stacy Dame, District Counsel, stated that, from a legal standpoint, the Board is free to have general discussions at this meeting on whether or not they want to continue to pursue getting the levy back on the ballot, but they should defer any formal actions to a future, advertised, Special Meeting.

Mr. Gauntner motioned that the November 23rd, 2015 Special Meeting passed earlier in this meeting include the 2013-2014 State Post Audit Conference, as well as a public portion to discuss whether or not to put the levy back on the ballot in March, 2016 at a millage to be determined, and, if desired, will include the Board’s vote on the necessary resolution requesting Valuation Certification from the County Auditors office. He further motioned that the time of the meeting be changed from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm to allow the public more opportunity to attend the Special Meeting.  The Board will bring the Special Meeting to order at 5:00 pm and adjourn immediately to Executive Session for the Audit Conference to accommodate the Auditor’s schedule. This will allow the public additional time to arrive before the Board reconvenes the Special Meeting following the Executive Session.

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

CHIEF’S REPORT:                                                                                                         

1)      Inspection Report: In Board Folder. Mr. Vest inquired about the Thunder Hill inspection and what decisions had been made about any potential operations at the site. Chief Lutz and Mr. Gauntner explained that Madison Township Zoning regulations prohibited use of the facility as a haunted house and restaurant.

2)     Madison Country Club: The man charged and found guilty for starting the Madison Country Club fire was sentenced to 5 years in jail.                             

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

*House fire on Elm Street – Still under investigation.

*House fire on Dayton Road – Still under investigation.

4)     Insurance Service Office (ISO) Ratings: On September 27, 2015, ISO evaluated Madison’s ratings which included review of Pump tests, Hose records, Training records, Fire Incident records, etc. Madison’s rating will remain unchanged at 6 and 9 until the results are received sometime in February or March, 2016.

5)     Fire Corp: Chief Lutz reminded the Board that he has met with volunteer leaders and legal advisors to define and develop pre-plans for a Fire Corp program in Madison. VFIS is onboard with this new program without changes to the District’s current insurance policy. Chief Lutz and Lt. Baker continue to work on finalizing the scope of this volunteer program.

6)     Lake Health R.I.E. – Stemi Program: Lake Health has requested that Chief Lutz sit in on their Rapid Improvement Event discussions being held in mid-December. 

7)     Training Burn: Chief Lutz advised the Board that he is considering a training burn to be conducted around December 12th once the appropriate forms have been submitted.

8)    Toy Drive/Food Drive: On November 29th, 2015, the Madison Fire District and the Madison Township Police Department will be collecting toys at Walmart on North Ridge Road to be donated to Asa Cox’s Angels. On December 5th from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm, the Fire District and the Township Police will be collecting non-perishable items for the Madison Food Bank. All donations and volunteers are welcomed.

9)     Staffing Changes: (Report emailed to the Fire Board earlier.) Chief Lutz detailed manning changes beginning with the District’s December 6th schedule which includes reducing the number of Fire/EMS staff on duty to (3) at each station. On the weekends, EMS patients will be taken to Lake Madison or Geneva only except for Stemi patients, OB patients, and possibly Mental Eval patients. Station #3 will continue to schedule an additional (2) Transfer Program Paramedics from Monday through Friday only (no weekends, no Cleveland Hospitals), and will only go to Tripoint, Lake West, Geneva, ACMC, Hillcrest, Geauga, Euclid or Richmond Heights.

Per Chief Lutz, these staff changes must be made to reduce expenses through the end of 2015 and probably into the first quarter of 2016. He may be able to adjust staffing again once the Board decides on whether or not to put the levy back on the ballot in the spring. The entire Budget Line Items structure is being over-hauled to better detail the financial data with respect to Fire, EMS and Transfer Revenue and Costs. Large dollar line items will be broken down into subsections (i.e. by category, by station, by vehicle, by utility, by contract, etc.) to facilitate a better understanding of the contents of the budget and empower the Board in the fiscal decision-making process.

Mr. Frager asked if the recently implement Financial Report was still being updated and distributed on a monthly basis. Chief Lutz replied that it was and, in fact, would be amended to reflect the new account breakdowns. Mr. Vest and Mr. Frager asked that an updated Financial Overview report be available for the November 23rd Special Meeting.

Mr. Gauntner stated that he met with Chief Lutz to determine what revenue is being lost due to the proposed staff cuts. He stated that that number is still unknown but he agrees that we must make cuts and that the proposed cuts will save over $100,000 in the next year. He stated that Chief Lutz has compiled the numbers regarding when most transports are needed, what hospitals are most frequently used and he has made a real effort to make logical, realistic cuts that will minimize the loss of service to the community and the loss of revenue.

Mr. Vest asked what Joanne Clapp, CFO, views are regarding the proposed cuts.

Staffing Changes (cont.):                                                                                             

Mr. Takacs commented that he did not have the appreciation for how large the Transfer Program had actually morphed into. He stated that back in 2011, when the program started, it was a simple run from the Madison ED to some place and get back into the community. As it turns out, we are transferring to 20+ hospitals which, in his opinion, was not the original intent. The original intent was to help the Madison ED get patients transferred to hospitals in a timely fashion. That being said, though, Mr. Takacs agreed that cuts to the Transfer program are more preferable than cutting Fire and 911 EMS service in the community. He regrettably agreed with Mr. Gauntner that we cannot be certain that the cost savings of $100,000 will actually be realized, but stated that the Chief should have the authorization to schedule the crews as he see fit to maintain services to the community.

The Board authorized Chief Lutz to implement a new Transfer Program schedule and provisions.                                                                                                                           

CLOSING PUBLIC PORTION:

Craig Winkleman, 444 Oak Hollow, asked what the Board’s backup plan was in case the levy failed in November. Chief Lutz stated that the cuts were detailed in many previous Board meetings and said cuts are now being implemented starting with the Transfer Program. Mr. Winkleman asked if anyone would lose their job and the Chief replied “No, but some part time employees may see reduced hours.”

Tod Baker, Madison Firefighters Local 3141, stated that he had some questions for current Fire Board members who were on the Board back in 2011. He reminded said Board members that, according to the October 19, 2011 Board minutes, there were concerns regarding untrue statements being made about the financial stability of the Fire District and the plans to build a new station.

He asked if the newer Board members were aware that the District had spent $22,000 for a Master Plan in April, 2010 and asked if the Board members had read the Master Plan.

He stated that the union was concerned about operations and that, on page 13 of the 159 page document, it specifically stated that finance was an issue and that, in 2008-2009, Madison Fire outspent the revenue. Mr. Baker further reminded the Board that in August, 2010, Mr. Bartlett proposed that we send out a request for qualifications for an architect for a new building. Mr. Baker then asked current Board members, (who were on the Board back in 2011), what the District had done to secure funding for a new station between April and August of 2010.

Mr. Wayman answered that he did not think that they secured funding during that time. Mr. Baker stated that, despite the advice in the Master Plan, the District moved ahead with plans to build a new station without funding. Mr. Wayman stated that he did not have all the answers in front of him now.

Mr. Baker stated that in April 16, 2010, there was a District-wide meeting where Mr. Takacs, representative for the Board, talked about how they were going to embark on a new direction, build a new station and start the Transfer Program. He asked Mr. Takacs if he remembered the meeting and if he remembered whether there was any opposition or concerns from anyone about the District’s plans. Mr. Takacs stated that there was a pros and cons discussion that night. Mr. Baker reminded Mr. Takacs that many of the veteran firefighters asked the organization and the staff to consider putting on a bond to secure funding. He stated that Mr. Takacs’ response was that it would never pass, and that sometimes you have to be bold.   Mr. Baker stated that they argued that night that the only manageable expense was personnel. In 2008 and 2009, there were 4 personnel in each station. Then came the Transfers, which was how we were going to pay for the building, and now, 5 years later, we’re not even sure we’re making money on the Transfers. He asked Mr. Vest if that is how he ran his own business to which Mr. Vest replied, “No”.

Mr. Baker stated that there were several indications that we should have done something, but we didn’t do anything. The Board sets policy and gives us direction. What is our direction now? Mr. Vest stated that those are things that were done in the past and we have to move forward now. Things of the past are pertinent to history but now we have to find a solution to fix the problem. Mr. Baker stated that we can’t pass a levy until the people who made the decisions back then take ownership of the oversight. In Mr. Baker’s opinion, the Board needs to take ownership so “we can put this behind us and try to get a levy passed. It’s not the firefighter’s fault that this station (#3) is here”.

In conclusion, Mr. Baker asked, “If Transfers are making money, why are we cutting 2 days out? You guys are the policy makers”.

CLOSING BOARD COMMENTS:

Mr. Gauntner stated that he is not taking ownership because he wasn’t here. Many of the current Board members were not here then. He further stated that Mr. Vest is right, we have a problem that we have to solve and that he refuses to look back and throw anyone under the bus for the decision they made. Mr. Gauntner stated that we have a lot of issues to deal with and that is what we have to do, but that he is not taking ownership for all this stuff because he wasn’t here and that it is unfair for Mr. Baker to ask the newer Board member to do so.

Mr. Gauntner stated that one thing he does know is that St. #3 wasn’t built only by the Board, it was built under committee of the firefighters and the Fire Chief. He commented that he has been in St. #1 and asked if the firefighters now want to shut down St. #3 and go back to St. #1. He stated that he was disappointed that, even though the Board was told that the firefighters would be working the polls on Election Day, nobody showed. From past experience, Mr. Gauntner stated that, to get a levy passed, you need total involvement to educate the voters. We have to get the firefighters and the community ramped up. He advised Mr. Baker that it does no good to harp on the past, we have to move forward. He thanked the firefighters for their involvement at tonight’s meeting.

Mr. Frager stated, for the record, that the reason he voted “No” on the original resolution was because it wasn’t clear enough what the plan was – what the money was going to be used for. He hopes that there will be a presentation on Monday, *November 23rd, that explains the Chief’s reasoning regarding any proposed levy increase.

Mr. Vest commented that, if the Board decides to put the levy back on the ballot, EVERYONE must become involved, we can’t walk out on each other, and we must be unified.

Mr. Wayman called for a motion to adjourn and Mr. Takacs requested that the Board adjourn into Executive Session to discuss a disciplinary issue with no business to follow.

Motion to Adjourn to Executive Session @ 8:03 pm by: Mr. Vest

Seconded by: Mr. Frager                                                                           ROLL CALL:   All ayes

 

Motion to Adjourn Executive Session @ 9:02 pm by: Mr. Vest

Seconded by: Mr. Gauntner                                                                     ROLL CALL:   All ayes

 

Motion to Reconvene to Regular Session @ 9:03 pm by: Mr. Vest

Seconded by: Mr. Gauntner                                                                     ROLL CALL:   All ayes

 

Motion to Adjourn Regular Session @ 9:04 pm by: Mr. Vest

Seconded by: Mr. Gauntner                                                                     ROLL CALL:   All ayes

 

_______________________                           _______________________

Mr. Pete Wayman, Chairman                               Nila Brass, District Clerk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Italicized portion in paragraph 1 above reflects correction of date for upcoming Special Meeting and was approved by the Fire Board on 12/16/15.