Village of Chester Commission
Regular Monthly Meeting
November 12, 2014
Present: Brenda Mulrooney, Commissioner; Wynand Baerken, Commissioner; Bill Zinck, Chair; Michael Heisler, Vice Chair; Bill Nauss, Commissioner; Iris Tolliver, Clerk Treasurer; Dave Richardson, Fire Chief, Everett Hiltz, Deputy Fire Chief
1.0 Call to Order
Chair Zinck called the monthly meeting to order at 7:00 pm.
2.0 Minutes from October 15, 2014
MOTION: Brenda Mulrooney moved, Wynand Baerken seconded, the acceptance of the October 15, 2014 minutes. Carried.
3.0 Additions to Agenda and Approval of Agenda
MOTION: Brenda Mulrooney moved, Wynand Baerken seconded, the acceptance of the agenda. Carried.
4.0 Business Arising from the Minutes
MOTION: Bill Nauss moved, Michael Heisler seconded, to indefinitely suspend ISO now, we take the data and have the Commission assess the data that we’ve collected, for possible future use. Seconded by Michael Heisler.
Commissioner Mulrooney stated that she feels strongly that suspending the ISO program is a bad move for several reasons – (1) The $20,000.00 spent to date on ISO; (2) 4 of the 5 original Commissioners who unanimously wanted ISO put in place are still on the Commission; (3) It is now to the point to put in place and it hasn’t been given a chance. This was to be a two part program, first to put policy and procedures that we could work to in place and the second was registration. Having the registration would ensure what was put in place would be adhered to. The purpose for a program such as ISO was for accountability and transparency and to discontinue this process before it has been given an opportunity puts the Village and the Commissioners at risk, should there be any mishaps. We know the Commission needs to put this in place for risk and repercussions. Commissioner Mulrooney stated she was against stopping ISO.
Commissioner Baerken stated he fully agreed with Commissioner Mulrooney’s statements and agreed that ISO has not been given a chance. Given the frustration the consultant has encountered over the past two years, Commissioner Baerken said he sees no reason, other than fear of change, to suspend the ISO Program. ISO and NFPA have a good working relationship with each other so if the Fire Department would rather go with NFPA it would be a similar standard. He pointed out that the MODC has just implemented an ISO program. He stated his main concern is being aware of the risk factors, and without any other plan in place. He feels it is very irresponsible to suspend the ISO at this stage.
Commissioner Nauss felt that having spent $20,000.00 is too much stating that it will cost $100,000.00 by the time it is put in place and maintained. He does not feel the Commission will be protected by having an ISO program if an incident happens. “You need a loss control program or safety program… that is what will protect”. He suggested that the Commission can assist the fire department to move towards implementing NFPA 1500. If we need something to control documentation, it should not be ISO because it is too expensive.
In rebuttal, Commission Mulrooney pointed out that the only future costs would be if it was decided to go forward with registration but that cost would not be $100K. The cost of the ISO program has already been spent and no matter what program we put in place we will have to pay the cost of the extra hours to have staff following procedures that are not presently in place. There are no policies and procedures presently addressing accountability and traceability. Commissioner Mulrooney feels it is really irresponsible to say to our tax payers: “We have just taken $20K of your hard earned money and we are going to throw it away.” This program was put in place for good reason and just cause. I am shocked that anyone would even think of throwing it out without first giving it an opportunity.
Chair Zinck asked that the motion be read back. It was determined that perhaps the motion be reworded.
Commissioner Nauss again moved that the ISO program be indefinitely suspended until we see if any of the policies can be used. He said he had read the policies and only some are of any use. The Clerk suggested a meeting with our risk management consultant to assist the Commission to implement policies and procedures as required. Chair Zinck read back the motion to read as: Move to suspend ISO and use the material to implement procedures. Three commissioners were in favor and the motion carried. Commissioners Mulrooney and Baerken asked to be on record as opposed to this motion.
a) Fire Chief’s Report
Since the last commission meeting we had 6 calls consisting of 2 MVC, 2 alarms, 1 CO2 call to Shoreham, and 1 mutual aid call to Western Shore for a structure fire. Truck # 531 is still a work in progress with Dave Kennedy doing work on the truck and our members are still installing gear. Our new boat trailer is at the hall and is waiting to haul out the boat. I think it is time that the boat comes out of the water and get winterized. If there isn’t any problem with this, than the boat will be hauled out of the water this weekend and taken over to Honda Power House to be winterized. We had a good turnout for the Remembrance Day Parade and training is still ongoing. I’m going to sound like a broken record but the question about the siren keeps being asked when. If the siren isn’t going to be installed in the next week or so, than the pieces should be moved out of our small control room before something goes missing or broken. The hall should have an air quality test done for mould in the rafters from all the leaks over the years. The recognition dinner for volunteer firefighters was well attended by our department with 15 members enjoying a good meal. Halloween has come and gone with no fire related calls for another year. The last thing that I would like to comment on is the criteria for the job at the fire hall. I read over the qualifications for the job and I think we are setting the bar very high for what I think we would need for our fire station.
MOTION: Dave Richardson moved the adoption of the report. Bill Nauss seconded. Carried.
b) HR Report The HR Committee met with an HR specialist to discuss implementation of a HR program.
c) PAC There was nothing to report
d) Financial Reports A Budget Year To Date report was given to the Commissioners and Fire Chief.
The HST rebate in the amount of $33,786.73 has been deposited in our checking account along with the HST offset rebate in the amount of $3503.00. The total amount is $37,289.73. The Clerk requested that there be a motion put forth to allocate these funds. Previously there was a decision to pay for the repairs of the damaged decorative lights as well as the over budgeted cost for the Electric Car Charger. If that is still the wish of the Commission, then the rebates should be allocated to general operating funds.
MOTION: Brenda Mulrooney moved to allocate the tax rebates in the amount of $37,289.73 to general funds, seconded by Wynand Baerken. Motion carried.
A scanned copy of the bank statements and Reserve fund portfolio were previously provided to all of the Commissioners. The financial report was discussed along with the bank balances as of October 31, 2014. ( Bank reconciliation reports attached to original minutes.)
MOTION: Bill Nauss moved to accept the financial report as presented, seconded by Wynand Baerken, Carried.
6. New Business
Chair Zinck began by mentioning that approximately 8 ½ years ago the solicitor for MODC advised the Fire Advisory Committee that if they actually made a motion to say that they are working towards NFPA 1500, that it takes a lot of the liability away from the fire department. He asked that one of the Commissioners make a motion that would say we are working towards it. Commissioner Baerken asked if we are working towards it. Chair Zinck felt it would be fiscally proper to. Commissioner Mulroony believes that the motion should be made but with a time limit placed on it due to the rate at which it is progressing in the Municipal Fire Departments. Commissioner Mulrooney suggested that 3 years might be a reasonable time frame. Deputy Chief Hiltz advised the commission that part of NFPA 1500 is that all members have their level 1 certification. Of firefighters on Chester’s department, approximately 80-85% of members do not have that certification. Given these numbers, Fire Chief Richardson feels it is not feasible that it could happen in three years. It requires members to take time off work because it is not a weekend course, it is weeks of training. Commissioner Mulrooney was advised that CVFD members require level 1 qualified, not certified. After more discussion it was suggested that more thought be given to in house training for individual members and additionally, a meeting with the Chief and Deputy Chief should take place. The motion was dropped until more information could be gathered.
7. Any Other Business
– Clerk’s Report
Eastlink Tower A public information session was held on October 27 at the Municipal Office. There were two members from the public present to ask question. (only one was from the Village) The next meeting will be the Public Hearing which will be held on November 27 @ 8:45 am in Council Chambers. Barring any opposition from the public, I was informed that if Council gives a concurrence at that time, then Eastlink will have their tower erected by the end of February.
Voice Integrated Warning System I have had Wentzell Engineering look at the pole that was put up to hold the speakers of the new siren. The estimated cost to finish which will include the drawing of guy wire installation, overseeing the installation and a final inspection, will be $1300 to $1600, including what has been done to date. If we want a hands off approach and basically let them do it all, then the estimated cost will be $1700 to $2200, plus excavation and materials from a contractor. I spoke with Jason Snow, the supplier of the system, and they require the pole to be certified capable before they will mount their system on it. I would ask that the Commission give consideration to waiting until after the Nov 27 Public Hearing to make a decision on how to proceed.
In Camera Meeting On October 29th, the Commission held an in camera meeting to discuss the UNSM Fiscal Review, specifically recommendation 13 and 14.
New Village of Chester Co-ordinator Position The job has been posted on various web sites and will be advertised in the Bulletin next week. The bulk of the process will be handled by a third party Human Resource firm.
Out Buildings at Fire Hall For quite some time there have been reports about the outbuildings at the Fire Hall being in disrepair. The small building which houses mostly garden party items, needs a new roof and new foundation blocks. The estimated cost is $2 – @2.5 K. The larger building which houses the old fire truck and surplus fire equipment, needs a new roof, new man door and possibly new shingles or siding. Painting may be enough. Estimated cost with new exterior is $10K.
The Fire Chief also suspected there is mold in the main fire hall. A visual inspection in the area suspected did not appear to be any mold. When the roof is replaced and the insulators are back they will verify whether mold is present. The Clerk asked for permission to have an air quality test and it was given.
Electric Car Charger Maxine was able to contact David Stevenson who is shipping us a sign for our car charging station. The total cost is $44.50. I contacted Garth at MODC and we do NOT need a permit for the sign. He thinks that is also the case for signage on the #3 Hwy but I need to verify that with DOTIR.
NEW CAO at MODC I had an informal meeting with Tammy Wilson who has expressed to me her interest in carrying on a close relationship and keeping the lines of communications between our offices open. She expressed her interest in attending our December monthly meeting. She also would like to hear more about our Voice Integrated Warning System and suggested the EMO co-ordinator would be interested as well. Arden Weagle.
Burke Macdonald & Luczak We received updates on several projects the Commission has recently been involved with. The Lease of the wharf and operation of the pump out station –MODC has indicated that they will not agree to the changes to the lease agreement that we requested, specifically to allow exclusive use of the facing right hand side of the Red Cross Wharf. Additionally, concerning the sewer arear rates he notes that there has been no further instructions from the Commission and also that the time limitation period applicable to a judicial review may have lapsed. However he feels it may be useful to contact Steve Graham to inquire as to whether any formal decision has been made as to the disposition of the surplus and obtain a confirmation of the decision in writing. There will be no further steps on the matter from his office. In the matter of conflict of interest, the Attorney General’s Office required a formal certified copy of the motion to request and inquiry and that was provided to them on or about Oct 30.
b) Fiscal Review
Commissioner Brenda Mulrooney gave an explanation of the Municipal Fiscal Review and what it could mean for our village. She highlighted many facts about the report, particularly two quite alarming recommendations that would be detrimental to the future of villages in Nova Scotia. The was an emergency meeting of the Association of Nova Scotia Villages held in Port Williams which was attended by more than half of Nova Scotia’s Villages along with commissioners and staff. A motion was passed that condemns recommendation 12 and 13, which speak to; (#12) no more formation of villages and no new powers be granted to them; and (#13) the dissolution of Villages in Nova Scotia.
MOTION: Commissioner Mulrooney moved to write a letter to MOC to ask their position on the Fiscal Review in regards to how it will affect Villages. Additionally that letters be sent to our Councilor and members of local interest groups as well as hosting coffee meetings with the residents of the Village. Every effort must be made to make the public aware of the magnitude of the Fiscal Report. Seconded by Chair Zinck. Carried.
c) Fire Hall Roof
The ad for the tender to re-roof at the Fire Hall has been placed. To date there has been just one response. There was concern expressed about removing the old siren from the Fire Hall until the new system is in place.
MOTION: Brenda Mulrooney moved, Bill Nauss seconded, the acceptance of the correspondence. Carried.
10. Questions from Electors pertaining to this meeting’s agenda:
Ray Cambria of Central Street asked if the ad for the new position to assist the Fire Department with paperwork included the salary range, he was told it does not. He then asked about the required upgrades at the Fire Hall as noted in September minutes and if the cost was budgeted. He was informed the costs came from reserves. He asked about whether there are immediate plans to renovate the fire hall and he was told that any plans are future with the exception of the re-roofing job that is necessary. He expressed his concern that this commission take a caretakers attitude until the outcome is clear on the fate of villages in Nova Sotia.
Brad Armstrong, Councilor for District 3 mentioned the process of the Eastlink tower and asked the commissions position on it. He was told the Commission is in favor of having the tower erected behind the fire hall. He clarified an earlier comment in that Municipalities must run balanced budgets. He stated that the excess funds from the Village sewer taxes are in a separate bank account to be used for only the Village. He is continuing to work on new generators for the Village Sewer.
Nancy Hatch, Central Street asked that unapproved minutes could be provided especially to residents who ask questions to allow for any correction or clarification to their comments. It was decided to post unapproved, draft copies of the monthly minutes on the web site.
Deputy Chief, Everett Hiltz pointed out that the names of the Chief and Deputy Chief that are listed on VOC web site are incorrect. The web site will get updated.
Jo-Ann Grant, Pig Loop Rd., made comments on the new position and if the expressed potential conflict of interest was still in effect and if the Chair intended to apply for the position. Chair Zinck stated the potential conflict was still in place, although he has not as yet applied for the position.
There continued to be further discussions between the audience and the Commission concerning the ISO program.
Bill Zinck adjourned the meeting 8:37 pm.
William Zinck Iris Tolliver
Commission Chair Clerk Treasurer