June 11, 2020, 6:00 PM
NORTH BANNOCK FIRE DISTRICT
NBFD FIRE STATION - 444 E Chubbuck Road
June 11, 2020
Meeting was opened by Roy Allen at 6:13 PM.
Roll call – Roy Allen, Alan Curtis, Debra Shell, Fire Chief JR Farnsworth; Assistant Chief Mark Brood (by video link)
ACTION ITEM: A motion was made by Debra Shell and seconded by Alan Curtis to amend the agenda to move the FirstNet presentation and the Firefighter Association presentation to the top of the agenda. The motion passed unanimously.
There was a brief presentation by J. J. Hayes of FirstNet. FirstNet (First Responder Network Authority) was created in 2012 by first responders in response to the communication problems identified on 9/11 and the recognition of the need for first responders to have priority access to a nationwide wireless broadband network. It is the only network provider authorized, inspected, and held accountable by the federal government. AT&T was the only commercial carrier to bid to develop the network. FirstNet provides talk, data and text that work where and when needed. It collaborates with device companies to give the first responders the latest and best devices. It has a fleet of network assets including more than 100 devices, 100 applications and 76 dedicated deployables, which are mobile cell sites that link to FirstNet via satellites and do not rely on commercial power availability. It ensures public safety communication always gets priority.
There was a brief presentation by Bryan Wheat of the Firefighter Association. He says the firefighters are now well equipped. The volunteers have supported each other during the Covid-19 crisis and have benefited working together in platoons. They appreciate the community activities. They want to respond to EMS calls.
• A motion was made by Debra Shell and seconded by Alan Curtis to convene an Executive Session pursuant to Idaho Code 74-206(1)b to address allegations received by the county prosecutor of open meeting violations and misappropriation of funds by the fire district commissioners. The motion passed unanimously.
• A motion was made by Roy Allen and seconded by Debra Shell to allow Chief Farnsworth to be present in the Executive Session. The motion passed unanimously.
• A motion was made Roy Allen and seconded by Alan Curtis to close the Executive Session and reconvene the regular meeting. The motion passed unanimously.
• A motion was made by Debra Shell and seconded by Alan Curtis to approve the minutes of the May 14, 2020 meeting. The motion passed unanimously.
The treasurer, Alan Curtis, reported the following balances:
Total cash assets - $261,819.99
Total cash liabilities - $75.19 (credit cards)
ICCU checking account - $122,622.79
ICCU savings account - $40,051.31
Connections Credit Union checking account- $99,120.89
Connections Credit Union savings account - $25.00.
FIRE CHIEF REPORT
Fire Chief Farnsworth gave his report. There were 5 calls in May. These included assisting Ft Hall with a structure fire, an unauthorized burn, an EMS call with Bannock County Ambulance and an activated smoke alarm. Eighty-seven burn permits were issued in May. The department received 3 MSA Evolution thermal imagers valued at $22,087 from the Firehouse Subs Grant. The department will be reimbursed $4,010 through Idaho Rebounds funds to cover a one-year subscription to Target Solutions and for the Zoom platform. An IDL (Idaho Department of Lands) RFC (rural firefighting capability) grant in the amount of $4,535 for 2 Bendix King radios was approved to facilitate communication with the BLM and the Forest Service. The total cost of the radios is $4,985.66. The remaining cost of $450.66 will come out of the fire department budget as a grant match. Other grant applications have been submitted. The repairs on Brush 22 have been completed. Brush 12 has received new tires. The PTO yoke on Tender 14 was broken and is being repaired. The department participated in several parades for birthdays and graduation celebrations. There was an incident on Hwy 91 that the department thought they should have been dispatched to but were not. Bannock Dispatch does not have a protocol to dispatch fire to vehicle crashes. The department is looking for ways to improve service to the fire district and will work with the sheriff’s department and others to accomplish this.
• A motion was made by Alan Curtis and seconded by Roy Allen to increase the fire chief’s credit card limit to $2,500. The motion passed unanimously. This will prevent the need to pay some of the invoices by check.
• A motion was made by Alan Curtis and seconded by Debra Shell to contract with AT&T FirstNet for the purchase of 2 cell phones with unlimited data and hot spot and push to talk capabilities. FirstNet will provide the cellular and broadband data. The motion passed unanimously. The cell phones will be utilized by the Fire Chief and Assistant Chief who have been using their personal cell phones. iPads may be added later.
There was a discussion regarding the provision of disability insurance to the volunteers. Two bids had been obtained. The total cost would be about $10,000 per year. The commissioners would like to be able to provide this coverage but cannot do so at this time. A grant has been submitted which would cover the cost for 2 years. The first year at 100% and the second at 80%. They will await the determination of the grant before making any decision.
There was a discussion regarding physicals for the firefighters to ensure their fitness for duty requirements. The NFPA has a list of recommended components for the examinations. A grant has been submitted which would cover the cost for 2 years. The first year at 100% and the second at 80%. The fire chief and commissioners would like to be able to provide this benefit, but it is not included in the current budget. They will await the determination of the grant before making any decision.
• A motion was made by Roy Allen and seconded by Alan Curtis to contact the district’s attorney to see if there is any problem with reimbursing a volunteer firefighter’s building permit fee. The motion passed unanimously. This reimbursement would be for any volunteer who has had to pay the $250 building fee to the fire district for the fire inspection.
The report was presented by Assistant Chief Brood by video link. The online training is going well. They are utilizing the Target Solutions platform as well as the FF1 program for all members. Chief Brood is meeting with the individual platoons for hands on training. This month they have covered search and rescue tactics and conducted the Wildland Pack test with all members doing well. They will have an all members’ drill this Saturday following CDC guidelines.
The Executive Session had been convened to address allegations which had been filed with the county prosecutor alleging open meeting violations and misappropriation of funds by the fire district commissioners. The following actions will detail each of the allegations and the action taken to clarify or correct them.
• A motion was made by Alan Curtis and seconded by Debra Shell to uphold the approval of the Costco card membership purchase by Chief Farnsworth. The motion passed unanimously. The allegation was that this card was purchased without the board approval. This purchase had been approved by Commissioner Allen as authorized in the June 7, 2019 minutes approving expenses associated with the establishment of the fire department.
• A motion was made by Alan Curtis and seconded by Debra Shell to approve the use of Check #1135 to the State Insurance Fund for Workman’s Comp Insurance for the training officer. The motion passed unanimously. Initially the check was to be used by Commissioner Allen for the purchase of a fire truck in Utah. However, the truck was deemed unsuitable and the purchase not completed. The commissioners had discussed the need to purchase Workman’s Comp insurance and Commissioner Klauser was to look at potential providers but did not report any findings to the other commissioners. Since it was essential that the insurance be provided immediately as Mark Brood, the training officer, was working, Commissioner Allen used the check to purchase the insurance coverage. The board had agreed on the State Insurance Fund if another provider could not be found. The action was covered by the June 7, 2019 meeting minutes under the motion to set up the fire department.
• A motion was made by Debra Shell and seconded by Alan Curtis to approve the purchase of the brush truck with the gas engine upholding the prior actions of the commissioners. The motion passed unanimously. The fire district passed a motion at the July 19, 2019 meeting to purchase a brush truck with a diesel engine. However, a diesel engine was not available. Commissioner Allen discussed this with Bruce Savage, another commissioner. Attempts to contact the third commissioner, Steve Klauser were unsuccessful. Therefore, the decision was made to proceed with the purchase of the truck with the gas engine since there were time constraints and a truck was needed.
There was an allegation that Commissioner Allen had contacted the attorney representing the fire district regarding issues that were not approved by the board. The questions addressed to the attorney were regarding development of the fire department and thus, covered under the motion made to develop the fire department at the June 7, 2019 meeting. At no time were there any objections raised when the attorney invoices were approved for payment. This action was believed to be appropriate.
Committees were formed to expedite the development of the fire department. These committees submitted recommendations to the commissioners for further action. There were no posted public notices of the meetings and no minutes were taken. The fire district board was not aware that this constituted a violation of the open meeting law. This is now recognized as a violation of the open meeting law. Great care will be taken in the future to ensure complete compliance with the open meeting laws by the fire district commissioners.
There was an allegation of communication between 2 commissioners (Roy Allen and Alan Curtis) to remove Steve Klauser as the treasurer outside of the open meetings. During multiple open meetings frustration had been expressed that the financial status of the fire district was not known; this affected the actions of the board. A treasurer’s report was never presented. Discussion was held at the October 25, 2019 meeting of the need to replace Steve Klauser as treasurer. Alan Curtis volunteered at the October 25, 2019 meeting to serve as treasurer. Roy Allen made a motion which was seconded by Alan Curtis to appoint Alan Curtis to the position of treasurer. The motion passed. Steve Klauser was not present at the meeting. This action was believed to be appropriate.
There was a discussion on the usage of fire hydrants, specifically the one located near the fire station. The legal opinion of the fire district attorney was that there was no authority granting the fire district the right to use a Chubbuck City owned fire hydrant. Idaho Statue 42-201 provides the usage of any fire hydrant in the case of a fire. Chubbuck’s city ordinance prohibits anyone outside of the public works department or the fire department from operating the fire hydrants. Usually these issues are covered by MOUs or MAAs. The fire chief has been unsuccessful in meeting with any of the required officials to discuss the matter. Chief Farnsworth is to contact Pocatello and Ft Hall for the possible use of its hydrants. Other sources of water were discussed.
There was a brief discussion as to whether the fire district needs to file tax returns since it is a governmental entity. Debra Shell will seek the answer to the question.
• A motion was made by Roy Allen and seconded by Alan Curtis to authorize any commissioner to sign a renewal contract if it cannot be brought to the regular meeting in the needed time frame. The motion passed unanimously. This pertains primarily to mutual aid agreements and MOUs.
• A motion was made by Roy Allen and seconded by Debra Shell to adopt resolution No. 2020-03 to permit the public display of fireworks. The motion passed unanimously. This pertains to the public display of fireworks with a permit fee of $125.
• A motion was made by Alan Curtis and seconded by Roy Allen to move forward with the house acquisition and to direct the attorney to draw up the legal agreement. The motion passed unanimously.
• A motion was made by Roy Allen and seconded by Debra Shell to accept the letter to be sent to residents with property that may be suitable for a second fire station in the eastern part of the district. The motion passed unanimously. Commissioner Debra Shell and her husband Dave will manage this issue.
• A motion was made by Roy Allen and seconded by Debra Shell to renew the annual membership in ISFCA at the prior fee of $325 per year. The motion passed by vote of 2 to 1. Roy Allen will see if the fee can be prorated since it is now the middle of the year.
Debra Shell reported the current forgone monies are $292. There is to be a budget levy/L2 workshop which all commissioners are encouraged to attend.
There was a question raised as to whether the district had received the 3% budget increase for FY2019-2020. Debra Shell is to obtain the numbers from the county.
The fire chief working with the treasurer has prepared a budget. The treasurer has set up fire district line items which the other commissioners are to review. It will be finalized at the July meeting.
• A motion was made by Roy Allen and seconded by Debra Shell to authorize the payment of the fire district invoices as listed below. The motion passed unanimously.
ICRMP (insurance) $721.50
Idaho State Tax Commission (withholding tax) $50.55
• A motion was made by Roy Allen and seconded by Debra Shell to authorize the payment of the fire department charges as listed below. The motion passed unanimously.
Weidner Fire (truck equipment) $22,087.50
Foremost Promotions (fire prevention) $525.00
Idaho Federal Surplus (fixtures/PPE/truck equipment) $532.50
K & M Repair (vehicle maintenance) $260.00
Commercial Tire (vehicle maintenance) $989.94
The fire department received a refund of $780.69 from North Ridge Fire Equipment for returned hoses. This was on PO 2020-146. This payment was listed in the May 14, 2020 minutes
The bill pay invoices as listed below were reviewed.
Weidner (PPEs) $1,567.48
Fast Stop Travel (fuel) $35.90
Sparklight (internet) $72.24
Intermountain Gas (gas) $135.11
• A motion was made by Roy Allen and seconded by Debra Shell to approve the fire department credit card charges as listed below. The motion passed unanimously.
Amazon (shop equipment) $23.97
Advance Auto (truck equipment/supplies) $104.25
K & B (supplies) $32.26
Uniform Warehouse (uniforms) $101.54
Battery Systems (supplies) $36.29
Common Cents (fuel) $63.02
All Hands Fire Equipment (truck equipment) $39.98
Great Basin Cache (truck equipment) $159.25
Firehouse Subs (fire event: food) $49.97
Shell – Jackson’s (fuel) $66.17
Roy Allen would like to have plaques presented to Bruce Savage and Steve Klauser as an expression of appreciation for their service as fire district commissioners. Chief Farnsworth is to obtain pricing information, etc. The matter will be on the agenda of the July meeting.
The next meeting will be July 9, 2020 at 6:00 PM.
• A motion was made by Alan Curtis and seconded by Roy Allen to adjourn the meeting at 10:40 PM. The motion passed unanimously.
June Heilman, Secretary
APPROVED AT JULY 9, 2020 MEETING