Board of Trustees May 11, 2023
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 May 11, 2023, the meeting was opened at 6:00 PM by Marty Stover, Chair, with prayer by Danny Smith. Four trustees were present, plus JJ Ivey, Fire Chief, Melissa Thomas, Treasurer, and Christie Moore, Billing Manager. Three guests signed attendance sheet.
The minutes of the April 13, 2023 meeting were accepted on motion by Mark Giddy, seconded by Danny Smith.
Financial report – The operating balance for April 2023 was $471,930.37. Total income was
$59,617.13, with dues of $60,386.45. Total expenses were $47,385.09 with payroll of
$29,560.35, and repair and maintenance of $8,686.08. Known expenses coming up included insurance payments of $1,545.25 and $3,797.25 due on August 6. The financial report was accepted on motion by Danny Smith, seconded by Mark Giddy.
Total calls for April were 108, including 5 out-of-area (0 – Mt. High / Ricetown; 3 – Bangor; 1 – Nectar; 0 – Locust Fort / Cleveland): 58 medical, 7 structure fire, 12 auto accident, 6 fire alarm, 0 vehicle fire, 11 public service, 4 wild fire, 3 fire other, 7 tree down. Breakdown by station = Sta. 1 Hayden, 44; Sta. 2 Smoke Rise, 56; Sta. 3 Sugar Creek, 6; Sta. 4, Nyota, 2.
The following was also reported:
Engine 1953 is a $350,000 engine that we purchased from Bangor for $5,000. It is a Mercedes diesel and there has been difficulty finding mechanics to work on it.
A credit card is needed for the chief’s account to be able to allow purchase of equipment or picking up repaired equipment. It will be attached to the department’s account, and proper documentation will be required for all purchases.
Station 2 renovations will start July 1 with the closing of the first bay to expand the common area.
Worker’s Compensation audit has been completed
New Hurst tools have been ordered (grant money received)
The Chief’s report was accepted on motion by Mark Giddy, seconded by Danny Smith. Old Business
Billing Update – The attorneys at the end of April had a total of 229 accounts, two were paid in full. There was a check received from MSN (Massey, Stotser, & Nicholas) in the amount of
$2,116.17 for April collections with totals of $10,724.98 collected in 2023, and $182,734.09 since first turned over to MSN. Three new accounts were added in April. There were 12 exemptions approved and one denied in April, making total exemptions for this year of 97 approved, representing dues of $14,550. Fire dues received in April was $40,404.16 in checks or cash, $15,265 Credit/Debit card and $534.37 fees, plus $105 assessment fees, and other income of $61.51, donations. Total collected for April was $56,370.04 [income from 2022 was
$79,755.53] and for 2023 is $414,745.72. There are 1,023 accounts in the system with a balance totaling $404,153.99 as of May 1, 2023, which includes all outstanding dues from the
West Blount Fire Board – May 11, 2023 Page 2
beginning. So far this year, there is 71% participation of dues payment. As of the end of April there were 2,553 accounts paid in full, 1,023 with a balance.
Facebook – A report showing traffic and interactions on our Facebook page from January to middle of May was presented, which showed increases of individuals reached and reactions for two consecutive months.
Legal Representation – Whitney Eiland, recommended by Greg Reid, was introduced and requested if she would consider representing West Blount Fire District in all legal matters. She agreed to do so.
Online Billing – The online billing option is now in operation. The program emails receipts immediately. Access is on our website, with links on our Facebook page to the website, as well as the QR code for phones.
Flag Pole – The light has been purchased, now waiting on the electrician for installation.
July 4th – According to Pastor Keith Hudson, Hayden First Baptist will lead with the July 4th Community Celebration. The department will again provide free ice cream, our contact has been informed and is ready to deliver when we tell him.
Third Party Billing – A proposal was made to consider changing companies for recovery billing to Fire Recovery USA. They are a national company based in Roseville, California, that provides funds to fire departments cost recovery by billing insurance companies. They bill per apparatus per hour, verses current billing per incident. All reports can be done online as opposed to current by hand. There is no fee for this service by either company. Fire Recovery charges 22% of what is collected verses 15% or $75 currently. So far this year we have received $425 in recovery funds. Fire Recovery believes they can increase that amount significantly. A list of Alabama departments was provided with nine highlighted that are in close proximity to us. After discussion, it was decided to table this topic and have a special meeting Thursday, May 18, 6:00 PM, at Station 1, for the sole purpose of discussing this matter. Each board member was asked to do some research and check with those departments that were highlighted and be prepared to make a decision on the 18th.
Rules and Regulations for Subdivisions/Commercial Property Regarding Fire Hydrants/Water Line Size – Clay Jones, Assistant Fire Chief, made the following report. West Blount Fire & EMS District must adhere to the International Fire Code of 2018 and as amended in 2021, with regard to water and fire hydrants. Some of the sections include required water supply, private fire service mains, fire hydrant systems, and where placement is required. There has been discussion of issues regarding sufficient water and location of hydrants within our coverage area. There are new subdivisions planned for several areas of the district with the increase of roof tops that will be the responsibility of our department for fire protection. Currently, ISO requires six-inch water mains and a hydrant 1000 feet from any structure. Our area does not have all six-inch mains, and there are not hydrants 1000 feet from all structures. One forward step is with the help of Jeff Carter at Blount Water, who has agreed to install hydrants at cost,
$2,000. Individuals in some locales have gotten together and purchased the hydrant for their neighborhood and had it installed.
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The problem for the future seems to be the new subdivisions and means for enforcing these codes. If the subdivision contractor does not install the right size main to allow for the installation of hydrants, the water situation within our area will remain the same. A suggestion was made that our department explore the option of working with the Blount County Health Department to put an approval system into place where a septic or sewer cannot be approved unless the property owner can provide a letter from WBFD stating they are in compliance with our Fire Code.
Clay stated we are also working on something for the county under the county subdivision code. He talked with Commission Chairman, Chris Green, and several commissioners , who are all on board with this idea, but there are several hurtles to jump regarding how enforcement will happen in regards to water departments.
This topic will be on the agenda for each meeting until a solution is found and instituted.
Announcements – The next Board meeting will be Thursday, June 8, 2023, 6:00 PM at Fire Station No. 1.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 PM on motion by Danny Smith.
Present Not Present Guests
Dolores Fort Jamie Huffstutler (sick) Whitney Eiland
Mark Giddy Billy Giddy
Danny Smith Warren Stewart
Dolores Fort Secretary