Meeting with County Commissioners takes priority
By Lynn Volkens
Timberline fire Protection District’s Board of Directors met the evening of January 30, 2013 to discuss their goals for this year and develop plans to accomplish them. President Rick Wenzel and Board members Jim Crawford, Kay Johnson, Paul Ondr and Chris Samuelson were present. As the intent of the meeting was to deal specifically with Board goals, the fire chief and administrators were not in attendance.
Ondr got the work session off to a start by stating that he had three items on his list of goals: Board Policy; Station Locations and Conditions (specifically the potential of a ninth station, to be located in Rollinsville, and the existing Station 1 near Pinecliffe); and TFPD’s Relationship with Gilpin County.
Wenzel’s two-item list concurred with Ondr’s: Board Policy/Procedure; and the proposed Station 9.
Johnson also wanted to address Board Policy. She added Systems Issues to the list, saying that she’d like to see a system of monitoring and tracking the maintenance on vehicles and other maintenance issues plus a system to insure that there is follow through on maintenance needs. Noting “This may be a Chief’s thing,” she said that people have to be able to track information from the Chief and see a resolution. Johnson raised concerns about how many firefighters are really responding, if it’s always the same people and, if so, why. She asked if the new trainees are being monitored and how long it takes them to move from trainee status to that of firefighter.
The first item Samuelson mentioned was Performance Goals, Improvement and Tracking. He said TFPD needs to be able to show the public the direct benefits to taxpayers of the investments made. He also asked about firefighters “graduating up” to various certifications. “Are we making it valuable and worthwhile for cadets?” he asked.
“We have fundamental communication problems all the way from the top down,” Crawford commented. Communicating Better with the Community was the first item on his list. TFPD’s next Board election will be in May of 2014 and Crawford said he hoped TFPD could generate some interest in it, as well as building community awareness of best practices in fire mitigation, safety and being proactive about personal healthcare. “The best quality service is if the trucks don’t have to go out the door,” he stated. Next on Crawford’s list was Review and Update the By-Laws; Define the Process of Electing Officers; and Funding Avenues. Regarding the last item, he said TFPD needs to determine “how much do we need and what for” and then consider funding opportunities, including payment for wild land deployments, grants, and initiating fees to have the Fire Marshal review plans for new commercial construction to make sure it complies with the current fire codes. Crawford pointed out that should TFPD want to pursue a mill levy (tax) increase, that process could take several years. Developing a fee schedule for responding to calls in no-man’s lands (stipulated as non- U.S. or Colorado Forest areas that are not paying for fire protection services) was also discussed.
Samuelson asked “What denotes a ‘good’ district from a ‘bad’ district?” The Board discussed National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, response time, station location, and Insurance Services Operation (ISO) rating. Ondr suggested the Board could ask the chief to come up with some metrics to use as measurements. Samuelson countered that he’d like a third party to do that, stating “Asking the chief, ‘What (criteria) do you want or think we should meet?’ – we’d be shirking our duty.”
By 9 p.m., the Board members had combined and honed their lists to three areas they plan to address first: Governing Documents (Policy and By-Laws); Station Location; and TFPD’s Relationship with Gilpin County. They agreed to move forward immediately in building the relationship with the County. To that end, the Board planned to request a work session meeting with Gilpin County Commissioners.
The Timberline Fire Protection Board of Directors has scheduled their next regular meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, at Station 7 (14908 Highway 119).