Board of Trustees                            February 10, 2022
West Blount Fire & EMS District
The Board of Trustees for West Blount Fire and Emergency Medical Services District met at Fire Station No. 1 on February 10, 2022, the meeting began at 7:04 PM led by Greg Reid, Chair, with prayer by Billy Giddy.  All Trustees were present plus JJ Ivey, Chief, Melissa Thomas, Treasurer, and Diane Cox and Lisa Morgan, Billing Managers.        

The notes of the January 20, 2022, meeting were read.

Financial report – The operating balance for January 2022 was $365,703.77.  Total receipts were $138,107.79, including dues of $130,164.51.  Total expenses were $60,098.37, including payroll of $25,395.06, repair and maintenance of $3,404.45, and equipment of $19,333.96.  The report was accepted on motion by Annette Cox, seconded by Marty Stover..      

Chief’s Report

Total calls for January were 135, including 9 out-of-area (4 – Mt. High / Ricetown; 2 – Bangor;    3 – Nectar/Cleveland): 81 medical, 6 structure fire, 8 auto accident, 8 fire alarm, 1 vehicle fire, 24 public service, 1 wild fire, 3 fire other, 3 tree down.  Breakdown by station = Sta. 1 Hayden, 70; Sta. 2 Smoke Rise, 54; Sta. 3 Sugar Creek, 8; Sta. 4 Nyota, 3.  

Also reported:
    Two rescue trucks are in the shop
    Radio grant in the amount of $50,000 has been approved.  With this grant and the 12 radios we will receive from the county, there will be a shortage of 4 to fill all needs.  
    The 160 firefighting class is on-going with 100% passing so far
    Three of our fire fighters will be taking an EMT Class with warrior at no charge
    Would like to sell Engine 1951; Marty Stover made a motion, seconded by Annette Cox to declare 1951 surplus and sell.  Motion carried.
    Pump test will be next week
    The Fire Association meeting will be held the first Thursday in March at the Hayden Community Center

The Chief’s report was accepted on motion by Annette Cox, seconded by Marty Stover.   

Old Business

Budget will be tabled until the March meeting.

Billing Update – There are no CLA’s (conditional lien agreements) on file, all have been cleared as the end of 2021.  The attorneys have a total of 249 accounts, four paid in full.  A check for $2,404.68 from MSN (Massey, Stotser, & Nicholas) was received for January collections, making a total of $109,582.81 collected since first turned over to MSN.   There were four new accounts added in January.  There were 22 exemptions approved.  Fire dues received in January was $125,301.68 ($4,602.50 Credit/Debit card and $161.11 fees), plus $270 assessment fees, and $7,674.04 other income, totaling $138,009.33 [income from January 2021 was $147,871.32.  There are 2716 accounts in the system with a balance totaling $651,194.38 at the end of January, which includes all outstanding dues from the beginning.  (838 accounts paid in January.)  So far this year, there is 28% participation.

West Blount Fire Board – February 10, 2022                        Page 2

There were 3,554 accounts billed on January 5, 2022.  The breakdown by type of unit is as follows:
    Business – C4        $  16,950.00
    Church – CH        $    2,850.00
    Multiple Units – M4    $    4,200.00
    Mobile Home – MM     $  12,450.00
    Residential – R4        $508,650.00
    Total Billed         $545,100.00

Executive Session – The Board voted to go into executive session for the purpose of discussion of proposed pay rates.   After the executive session the following proposal was accepted on motion by Marty Stover, seconded by Annette Cox:  

A 10% across the board increase on all rates, including Treasurer and Billing Managers to take effect with the next pay period.  There will be a new policy of retention raises for new hires and current firefighters:  After one year of continued service with no disciplinary issues and attendance, a 5% increase will issued.  On the second year of the same behavior there will be a second 5% increase.  After that, increases will be individually on a merit basis.  The new scale will be
Firefighter             $11.00 per hour
FF/Basic             $11.55 per hour
Advanced/paramedic    $12.65 per hour
Officer                $13.20 per hour
Assistant chief        $14.30 per hour
Chief                $16.50 per hour

Correspondence – A letter of resignation was received from Diane Cox, Billing Manager, to be effective June 1st of this year.  She expressed this decision was due to personal and family obligation.  Her resignation was accepted with regrets and appreciation for all that she has done to get our billing department to its current position.  This position will be advertised in the local paper. Diane has agreed to help out until the new employee is comfortable in knowing the responsibilities.

A letter of resignation was received from Board member Billy Giddy to take effect February 28.  
He expressed his appreciation for being on the board and being a part of our Fire District.  His
resignation was accepted with deep regrets and grateful appreciation for his dedication to our board and our department over the many years of his service.  

Mark Giddy, who was present at the meeting, was nominated, and agreed, to fill the unexpired term, which ends November 30, 2023.  He was unanimously accepted by the Board.  His name will be submitted to the Blount County Commission for appointment at their March meeting.

A thank you letter was received from Dolores Fort for the efforts that were expended toward her son, and her, at the time of his death on January 11.  (letter attached)  

Announcements – The next Board meeting will be Thursday, March 10, 2022, 7:00 PM at Fire Station No. 1.

 West Blount Fire Board – February 10, 2022                        Page 3

Annette Cox
Dolores Fort
Billy Giddy
Greg Reid
Marty Stover
JJ Ivey                    
Melissa Thomas            
Diane Cox
Lisa Morgan    

Mark Giddy signed attendance

                        Dolores Fort     


February 10, 2022

To All Of Our Friends At West Blount Fire Department,

Almost to the day six years ago, January 11, 2016, I composed a similar letter to this one.  At that time, I was thanking our firefighters for coming to our home to assist my Jim.  Never in a million years would I have thought another such letter would be necessary, nor that it would be about my son!  Unfortunately, God had other plans, plans that did not in any way shape or form coincide with mine.  The correct order should be parent, then child!

What can be said to a special group of people who have time and time again been there for you when they were needed.  How is it possible to express the deep appreciation, heartfelt thanks, and true affection that has grown continuously over the past many years.

When I left my house Tuesday, January 11, at 10:00 AM after checking on Scott, there was no warning or indication that my life would change so drastically when I arrived back home at 2:30 that afternoon.  Scott was asleep, breathing normally, in his usual position when I closed the door.  When I got home he was face down in an awkward position half off the bed.  After much screaming, yelling, calling his name, hitting, punching and shaking him, I realized there was nothing I could do, and I called 911.

The first to arrive were Chris Edwards and Alex Ferguson who walked in and immediately went to his room.  They had to overcome many obstacles to reach Scott and work on him trying to resuscitate him.  For over twenty minutes, which seemed like forever and yet was over way too soon, they did everything they could to bring him back.  It just wasn’t meant to be, and I believe in the back of my mind I knew he was gone when I got home, but I had to try everything possible just in case.  

JJ Ivey, thank you for being there, thank you for your comfort, thank you for showing your concern for me and helping me to accept what I could not change.  And thank you for installing the fire alarms, upstairs and downstairs.  Your presence was a great deal of comfort to me, and greatly appreciated.

To our other firefighters who were present, Jackson Abbett, Hannah Downs, Brad Ivey, Kenny Lee, and Zac Williams, thank you for your assistance in moving Scott to the waiting hearse, thank you for your moral support, thank you for caring, thank you for the hugs, and thank you for just being here.  It takes a special type of individual to put your life on hold for someone else, to do what is necessary when life ends and to care for those left behind, and our community is definitely fortunate and blessed to have those individuals as part of our fire department.

And to our Board of Directors, we were to have a meeting that Thursday, but you graciously postponed it a week to give me time to compose myself, regroup and figure out what I was going to do and how I was going to deal with this major change in my life.  Thank you for all the calls, texts, emails, cards and Facebook messages.  Your care and concern were definitely felt and greatly appreciated.  The West Blount community is fortunate to also have a Fire Board who cares so deeply for its community, and I am very proud to be a small part of that Board.  

Once again you were there when my family needed you.  For that we thank you.  Your dedication to the safety and security to this community and its residents proves my family’s loyalty to you has not been misplaced.  And every chance I get, I will shout from the rooftops the virtues, benefits, diligence and excellence of our department, and the advantages to all of us that are available because of your dedication and hard work.

I will close with the same sentiment that I did six years ago when I thanked you for all that you did for Jim.   It expresses very much how I felt then and how I feel now.

So, how does one say thank you for all that was done for someone who truly loved this group of dedicated individuals?  They’re two little words, but have such deep meaning behind them.

THANK YOU!!!!!    

The Family of Scott Fort
Dolores, Wendy, Jay, Eliza and Gracie