Fire Board Discusses Policies and Capital Expenses

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The Fire Board spent over an hour discussing their Commissioner Policy Manual Tuesday morning, at times discussing its purpose and role, before moving it forward for further discussion and a vote at a future meeting.

Fire Chief Matt Love has worked with Board Attorney Salzman and district administrative staff to pull together a document that identifies how the board wishes to conduct business.

Chair Carol Morris said she has wanted a single document that tracks the various resolutions that the board has approved over the years regarding board procedures.

Larry Wood explained that he would like a document that assists new board members in understanding their role, board procedures and includes references to appropriate state statutes governing the board.

After extensive discussion the consensus was that the Commissioner Policy Manual under review Tuesday, did not exactly fit either expectation, but could serve as a starting point. Fire Chief Matt Love will bring back the Policy manual with the numerous changes requested Tuesday at a future meeting for approval.

Station 31

Love reported on the district’s Long Term Facility Planning, a key point of which is the ownership of the property that Station 31 sits on and any limitations that may exist for that property. Love indicated that Attorney Salzman has the pertinent documents in hand and is studying them.

This year’s budget includes a professional assessment of Station 31 that would include what was needed to bring the facility up to code compliance and the price tag to do so. Executive Assistant Fire Chief of Life Safety & Support Services Ron Martin told the board that GMA Architects & Planners had responded when he put the bid out to 3 firms. GMA was involved with Station 32 & Station 33 and are familiar with this type of assessment he explained.

Morris objected to using GMA saying that they had done a previous study for the district but then would not release the details to her. “They are the ones who did two of our buildings and they’re screwed up.”

Treasurer Bob Raymond agreed with Morris. “They did Station 32. I don’t want any part of them.”

The board agreed to allow Love to select another vendor for the Station 31 assessment.

Diesel Exhaust Systems

Next on the agenda was discussion of the purchase of a Diesel Exhaust Capture System for Station 32. Love plans to purchase one per year until all three have an exhaust system.

Firefighters exposure to diesel exhaust, a known carcinogen, puts them at an increased risk of cancer. One way to mitigate that risk is to control the release of diesel exhaust while a vehicle is in the station using a diesel capture system. District staff evaluated three systems and obtained quotes for two different systems. Love explained the difference between the two systems and recommended the purchase of a Magnegrip system for $35,019.35.

Board members discussed the possibility of equipping all three stations with a system this year rather than waiting to do it over the next two years.

Morris reflected on the history of the board’s consideration of this equipment. “When this first came up a couple years ago, there was a question as to why it was needed at all. There were a lot of questions as to whether we were spending money we didn’t need to.”

Ron Fleming said the equipment is definitely needed. “Our fleet is old so it’s dirty. It’s a known health hazard. Even with the doors open, even if everything is open, apparatus puts out known carcinogens. We should consider doing all three now.”

Ted Schindler suggested starting with Station 31 as it only has front doors, not front and rear like the other stations. Love explained that Station 32 was chosen for the first system because Station 31 is being considered for renovation, so he’s hesitant to install a new system there. Finding the funding to do all three stations at once was discussed and would require a budget adjustment.

Fleming added, “I’d like to move forward with this. It’s ok to ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ when you’re dealing with people’s lungs. If we can’t have all three now, I’d like Station 31 done second. By that time we’ll know more about what to do with this station.

The board will vote on the exhaust system at their next board meeting.

 Capital Budget

 Chief Love told the board that the budget process begins on January 1 and he first looks at capital assets. District staff assesses the status and life span of each capital asset, which allows the district to create realistic replacement cost assessments and schedules. Love has created a priority list of capital expenditures with a “catch-up” plan to update the fleet in a 5-year period. A new engine was ordered this year, using a 20% down payment and 10-year financing.

Overall the preliminary 2017/2018 capital budget holds about $544,000 in expenditures, with about $410,000 in contributions.

The Fire Board will meet next on Tuesday, June 20, 2017 at 6pm at Station 31, 3043 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach. For more information visit fmbfire.org.

 

Missy Layfield