Mr. Randy Weekly, Vice Chairperson
Mr. Richard Moore, Member
Mr. Randy Wolf, Member
Dr. Tony Forshey, Chairperson
Ms. Amanda N. Perkowski, Fiscal Officer
Mr. Clifford L. Mason, Fire Chief
Present from the Public: : The meeting was made public via live stream on RCFD’s YouTube channel. There were thirty-eight (38) views. Attending in-person were: Patty Costello, Leslie Barth, Jacob Osborne, Brandon Morgan, and Travis Colley.
Location: Refugee-Canyon Fire District, 111 Basin Street, Hebron, OH
Meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM by Vice Chairperson Weekly who led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Comments from live-stream listeners were directed to be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. None were received.
Patty Costello stated she had asked questions at the last meeting and felt she did not get real answers. Her issue is that the levy was defeated and she has not found any record of the fire district discussing the defeat of the levy, a future levy, or anything regarding levies. Four and a half months past the election, she finds it hard to believe that the board has “never discussed this”. She asked the board if they have discussed it, and if yes, where and when was it discussed. Mr. Weekly responded by stating he believed the board discussed it at the first meeting after the election. Ms. Perkowski confirmed that it was discussed during the December 3, 2020 board meeting and added that Patty has already been provided the documentation (the meeting minutes).
Patty Costello asked what the board’s plans are for the future. Mr. Weekly said the board is looking at the financial stability of the district; the board has passed an interim budget, is planning to review a final budget for 2021, and believes the district is in a good financial position to get through 2021.
Patty Costello claimed the voters have said clearly that they do not want this fire district and asked the board, “Why do you think that you are so much smarter than we are?” Chief Mason corrected her claim by explaining that the issue on the ballot was not to vote for or against the fire district; it was for operating funds for the fire district. Patty qualified her claim by stating, “There has never been a single person since the fire district was proposed that came and spoke in a township meeting or a fire district meeting in favor of the fire district.” Chief Mason disagreed with her claim stating he (a village/Union Township resident) and other residents have spoken in favor of the fire district. Patty asked to see support of his claim. She continued to ask the board, “Why you think the fire district should still be here in spite of the voters and and residents saying they don’t want it?” Chief expressed that Patty’s question is redundant and emphasized that, if her concern is with the formation of the fire district, she should contact her legislators (the Ohio General Assembly) to change the Ohio Revised Code. The fire district was created in compliance with the Ohio Revised Code. Patty claimed that there has been no positive feedback regarding the fire district. Mr. Weekly countered her claim stating he personally has spoken to several people who love that they have a station 2-3 minutes from their homes.
Patty Costello claimed she has never heard any comparison of run times for the northern part of Union Township. Ms. Perkowski stated that Captain Wyse had already provided Patty with a detailed comparison of run times. Patty apologized saying she may not have looked at that documentation adequately.
Patty Costello, again asked when the next levy will be. Mr. Weekly reemphasized that he believes the district is solvent through 2021. Patty asked the members of the board if they have discussed a future levy with any other members of the board outside of a public meeting, ever. Mr. Weekly said that he didn’t believe he had because they haven’t had a need. Chief Mason explained that her question is irrelevant because the board members are permitted by law to have conversations with each other as long as there isn’t a quorum and they aren’t making decisions. Mr. Weekly further explained that anything requiring action will be brought to the board for approval. Patty shared that she believes, and is trying to establish, that the board is having conversations about a future levy, but in a way that doesn’t create a public record.
Leslie Barth asked if the board has a budget beyond 2021 that is prepared to be released. Both Mr. Weekly and Ms. Perkowski said no. She stated that 8.5 mills was on the ballot but that the district is solvent without it; she suggested that 8.5 was not a reasonable number. Ms. Perkowski explained that at the time the 8.5 was decided, there was a five-year budget that was developed before updated revenue was available from Licking County. There isn’t a current projection beyond 2021 with updated revenue from Licking County.
Clerk/Fiscal Officer’s Report:
The minutes from the previous regular meeting held 25 February 2021 were reviewed. Mr. Wolf moved to approve the minutes as submitted, and Mr. Moore seconded the motion. Motion carried 3-0.
The 2021 final budget was presented to the board for first reading as Resolution #08-2021.
Ms. Perkowski updated the board on the I.T. server project that was approved at a previous meeting. After reviewing all the information received, a quote for hardware and services was presented to the board for approval. Mr. Moore moved to approve the quoted items 1-10 from Innovative Technology Support, Ltd., and Mr. Wolf seconded the motion. In further discussion, Ms. Perkowski stated that after the parts are ordered, it would take about seven business days to receive the parts, they would complete some prep-work remotely, and then they would be on-site for two days; the fire district would not experience any interruption in operations. Motion passed 3-0.
Chief Mason shared the February 2021 fire/EMS activity report and the 2020 year-end fire/EMS report with the board.
Mr. Weekly shared that Union Township has interviewed two applicants for the Union Township appointment to the RCFD Board of Trustees and that one is expected to be appointed at the next regular meeting.
Negotiations on the memorandum of understanding continue, and RCFD is awaiting a response from Union Township.
At 7:55 P.M., Mr. Wolf moved to enter into executive session pursuant to O.R.C. 121.22(G)(1) to consider the discipline of public employees. Mr. Moore seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0. At 8:15 P.M., Mr. Moore moved to return from executive session, and Mr. Wolf seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
Resolution #06-2021 was read in part by Mr. Weekly to authorize the Fire Chief to conduct a personnel investigation. Mr. Wolf moved to approve the resolution, and Mr. Moore seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
Resolution #07-2021 was read in part by Mr. Weekly to authorize the Fire Chief to conduct a personnel investigation. Mr. Moore moved to approve the resolution, and Mr. Wolf seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.
Mr. Moore asked if there has been any progress on the permanent sign at Station 352. Chief Mason explained that quotes have been received; further discussion can take place after an MOU regarding responsibilities of Station 352 has been executed.
Mr. Weekly shared that Union Township had put down more gravel at Station 352, hooked up a downspout, completed grading and seeding, and is continuously monitoring the condition of the ground.
The next regular meeting will be March 25, 2021 at 7:00 PM at the RCFD station.
Mr. Moore moved to adjourn the meeting at 8:20 PM, and Mr. Wolf seconded the motion. Motion passed 3-0.