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Timberline Fire completes feasibility study for new station near Pinecliffe

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Insurance matters, potential property inclusions, Pension Board

By Lynn Volkens

Timberline Fire Protection District’s board of directors met the evening of March 20, 2013. Board president Rick Wenzel and board members Jim Crawford, Kay Johnson, Paul Ondr and Chris Samuelson attended. The board had a long night of it, beginning their meeting at 7 p.m. and adjourning just short of five hours later at 11:50 p.m., with some board members and paid staff remaining until well after midnight for further discussion.

Insurance Presentation

  Dudley Locke, Timberline’s new agent with Volunteer Firemen’s Insurance Services, gave the board a one hour presentation going over what his company can offer in the way of Property and Casualty, Accident and Sickness, and Critical Illness with 24-hour Accidental Death and Dismemberment insurance benefits. Several board members had questions relating to specific coverage in each of these categories. The suggested coverage for Property and Casualty insurance carries a total estimated annual premium cost of $23,600; and Accident and Sickness, $10,355. The Critical Illness coverage is a new program VFIS is offering. The annual rates, per person, vary from $95.68 to $287.04, depending on amount of coverage. Locke said this program could be opened to Timberline’s membership on a voluntary basis with those who enroll paying the department to cover their own premiums. The board took no action on the insurance coverage. Locke said he would leave a “quick” sheet of summary information for the board to use in its future consideration. To learn more about the comprehensive details of the potential coverage, or to review the documents, contact Timberline directly at 303-582-5768.

Station 1 Feasibility Study

  Station 1 Lieutenant, Galen Koepke, and firefighter Eric Becker, provided some background on the Station 1 Feasibility Study which Becker said had been contracted in 2010. The last report on the study was in November of 2011. Becker, who is associated with OZ Architecture out of Boulder, the firm doing the study, went back over some of the information from the preliminary report for the benefit of the newer Timberline directors. Station 1 is located at 3999 Highway 72, near Pinecliffe. Koepke said it has had problems since it was built in the early 1960’s, mainly with rocks falling into the back of the building from a steep cliff behind it. Retaining walls, fences and other mitigation efforts have not resolved that problem. Additionally, the three-bay station is too small for newer, larger, fire trucks. Koepke said there is less than one inch of clearance on either side of the truck when firefighters are parking. A solution thought possible at the time the study originated, was to acquire property adjacent to the current site and build a new station. Timberline has the opportunity to buy that property this year, although the asking price is not yet known, said Koepke. On top of the cost of purchasing the land, site development was estimated at $287,896 and the building cost at $962,000. That could be lower if the station size is decreased from the 72’ x 36’ proposed. Noting that Fire Chief Chris Jennings is now evaluating where best to locate stations and equipment, as well as having reservations about the cost of a new Station 1, the directors thanked Becker and Koepke for the hour-long presentation and turned the matter over to the Chief for his recommendation at a yet to be determined future meeting.

Treasurer’s Report

  Samuelson provided year-to-date financial statements showing the General Fund Beginning Balance as of January 1, 2013 was $376,480. Tax Revenue brought in $12,054; Investment Income, $188. Expenditures totaled $69,252 and deducting the TABOR reserve of $83,292 left an Ending Fund Balance, as of February 28, 2013, of $236,178. In looking at individual line items, it was noted that Emergency Reporting (administrative software) was at 89.25% of the total budgeted for the year, but was explained as a one-time expense per year. The line item for Radios showed it also already over budget, having used 142.47% of the amount budgeted ($5,699 spent; $4,000 budgeted). Expenditures for “Supplies” (for trucks, said Jennings) was running at 85.06% of the annual allotment.

The Beginning Capital Fund Balance, as of January 1, 2013, was $407,222. That fund increased by $1,096,059, mainly via the loan taken out to purchase new fire trucks ($1,262,886). Proceeds from selling old trucks brought in $129,000 and tax revenues, $4,624. Expenses totaled $300,540. The Ending Fund Balance, as of February 28, 2013, was $1,503,281.

The Boulder Water Fund’s Beginning and Ending Fund Balance remained at $8,622.

Expenditures for the month of February totaled $329,135 among them: a payment to Rosenbauer (truck manufacturer) of $290,500; Fire and Police Pension Association $2,164; Salary and Benefits Expenses, $13,962; Legal Services, $3,881; Radios, $5,699; Century Link and AT&T Mobility, $764; Bank of America (Credit Card), $4,561; Fuel, $1,541; Apparatus and Repairs, $1,074; Electricity, $1,279; Heat, $1,769; and DirecTV, $95. Wenzel asked for clarification of the Quickbooks expenditures (a total of $10,697 (included in the Salary-Benefits above) and was told that Quickbooks is the payroll service. Timberline also pays an accounting firm, GAAP Solutions monthly ($279 in February).

Recent Calls

  During the time period spanning February 13 to March 16, 2013, the total number of calls was 20. The breakdown  by call type: Smoke Scare/ Odor of Smoke, 2; Motor Vehicle Accident With No Injuries, 2; EMS Call Excluding Vehicle Accident With Injury, 3; Smoke or Odor Removal, 1; Medical Assist to EMS Crew, 6; Dispatched and Cancelled En Route, 1; Rescue or EMS Standby, 1; Authorized Controlled Burning, 1; Alarm System Activation/No Fire/Unintentional, 1; System Malfunction/Other, 1;  and Carbon Monoxide Detector Activation Due to Malfunction, 1. Firefighters had made good use of calibrated gas meters and thermal cameras during a recent chimney fire call, the Chief reported, noting that the resident had taken appropriate action, closing the flue when the fire was discovered and alerting the fire department.

Training

  An EMT First Responder course is underway with 20 students. Engine Operations class started in February. The Chief attended Wildland Urban Interface Structure Protection class (S-215) and plans to have a similar course delivered to firefighters in the coming months. He also attended the Hazard Symposium in Loveland from February 27th to March 2nd which focused on Incident Command and the science of firefighting. No statistics were given on number of firefighters/ trainees currently on the roster.

Fire Marshal Duties

  Now being assumed by the Chief.

County Meeting Update

  In a work session held with Gilpin County Commissioners last month, Timberline directors had asked about the possibility of purchasing fuel, contracting for vehicle maintenance, and using space at a Rollinsville County shop for fire station purposes. All of the requests would have to be facilitated through the County’s Public Works Department. Word from the County was that none of the options are available at this time. The Chief is to research further options.

Mutual Aid Agreement

  The Metropolitan Mutual Aid Agreement has not yet been signed. The Chief reported that Timberline’s attorney had concerns with getting Timberline’s name onto the signature page. Once that is taken care of, the board’s consensus was to have Wenzel, Ondr, and the Chief sign the document and put it into effect.

Boulder County Sheriff’s Office Wildland Team requested a Memorandum of Understanding so that their personnel can actually go on Timberline’s engines as engine bosses. The Chief said Timberline cannot currently send an engine for deployment elsewhere without engine bosses on the department and that prevents firefighters gaining experience and revenue. This item is to be revisited by the board at a future meeting.

Apparatus and Equipment

  There’s a problem with a potentially overloaded rear axle on the new Rosenbauer fire truck. Chief Jennings said he believes it may be an engineering oversight. If that is the case the four engines still being built could have the same problem. The Chief said he’d be traveling to the Rosenbauer plant to address project issues and reassess the status of the trucks.

Existing Fleet Sales

  The Chief reported that Brush 2 (2004 Ford) has been sold for $35,000 and an offer received of $45,000 for Brush 7(2002 Ford). Consensus of the board was to accept that offer. The Chief said that once the new trucks are delivered, Timberline will have to pay the whole amount and that meant raising $80,000 to make that obligation and maintain the required TABOR reserve. With the sale of the existing fleet, “We’re well above that, now,” he noted.

Station Updates

  Station 8 construction is on hold pending warmer weather to save concrete costs.

Station 2 septic system repair was covered by Gilpin Ambulance Authority.

Chief’s Performance Review

  Still in progress. Wenzel said he and Johnson would be finishing it next week.

Pension Board Meeting

  With the addition of firefighter Chip Smith, the directors convened a Pension Board meeting. They reviewed the 2012 Allocation Report and membership update. The Pension Fund began 2012 with a balance of $1,411,332 and finished the year with $1,552,265. There were 41volunteers enrolled in the pension program in 2012and 44 retirees. The total monthly payout in 2012 for retirees amounted to $9,457. The Pension Board election has been scheduled for June 14, 2013, unless cancelled. Pension Board Trustee, John Carder’s term expires this year.

The current pension program was cancelled at the last Pension Board meeting and a committee formed to come up with an alternative program. That program has not yet been determined. Chief Jennings noted that Pension Board members should not be voting on their own pensions, that the program is a recruitment and retention matter that should be proposed by the chief. A committee of Carder, Ondr, and firefighter Chris Schimanskey were appointed to the committee to look into a Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) back in August. They are to report to the chief. Smith said whatever’s being planned for the new program needs to be a priority since the old pension program is now closed.

The Pension Board held a thirty minute Executive Session to discuss an issue with a surviving spouse. They reconvened to public session and announced that they would write a letter to FPPA to address that issue.

Heads Up

  Timberline’s board has scheduled a Special Meeting at 7 p.m. on April 3, 2013. The sole purpose of the meeting is to hold a public hearing to deal with petitions for inclusion into the fire district by lower Dory Hill Road property owners. For revenue purposes, Timberline would like to accomplish these inclusions by May 1st, making a tight deadline to meet all the legal requirements.

Timberline’s next regularly scheduled board meeting is set for 7 p.m. April 17, 2013. Both meetings will be at Station 7.

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