Sedona AZ (July 27, 2012) – The following July 18, 2012 Minutes of the Sedona Fire District Public Budget Hearing and Regular Board Meeting are published without SedonaEye.com editorial comment:
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SFD PUBLIC BUDGET HEARING AND REGULAR BOARD MEETING
Station #1 – 2860 Southwest Drive – West Sedona – Multipurpose Room
Wednesday, July 18, 2012 / 3:30 PM – Executive Session / 4:30 PM – Public Session
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I. CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL.
Board Present: Ty Montgomery – Chairman; Corrie Cooperman – Clerk; Craig Dible; Nazih Hazime; Diane Schoen – Members
Staff Present: Fire Chief Kris Kazian; Fire Marshal Gary Johnson; Finance Manager Sandi Schmidt; Executive Assistant/Recorder to the Board Tricia Greer
Others Present: Bill Whittington, Attorney; Approximately 40 Members of the Public
As Chairman Ty Montgomery was delayed in arriving, Board Clerk Corrie Cooperman opened the meeting at 3:33 PM, and moved to go into Executive Session pursuant to ARS 38-431.03.A.3 – Legal Advice; and ARS 38-431.03.A.4 – Instruction to Attorney; Board Member Diane Schoen seconded.
Attorney Bill Whittington asked to amend her motion to include ARS 38-431.03A.3 – Legal Advice regarding Item #VIII.B.6, Resolution for disposition of surplus property; she did so; Mrs. Schoen amended her second, and it passed unanimously.
The Board then went into Executive Session in the Fire Chief’s office.
II. SALUTE TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA AND MOMENT OF SILENCE TO HONOR ALL AMERICAN MEN AND WOMEN IN SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY, FIREFIGHTERS, AND POLICE OFFICERS.
Chairman Ty Montgomery reconvened the Public Session at 4:37 PM and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
II. EXECUTIVE SESSION.
A. Vote to go into Executive Session pursuant to ARS 38-431.03.A.3 – Legal Advice; and Pursuant to ARS 38-431.03.A.4 – Instruction to Attorney Regarding Negotiations relating to the following items:
1. Arizona Attorney General’s Opinion as it relates to Open Meeting Law Violations of Former Fire Board; and Instructions to Attorney Re: Negotiations Relating to the Attorney General’s Investigation and Settlement of Open Meeting Law Violations of Former Fire Board; 30 day Extension to August 31, 2012 for Compliance.
2. Lowell Johnson Complaint.
III. RECONVENE INTO PUBLIC SESSION.
A. Discussion/Possible Action regarding the Executive Session Items:
1. Discussion/Possible Action: Acknowledgement of Receipt of Recommended Settlement and Resolution of Arizona Attorney General’s Opinion and Findings on Open Meeting Violations of Former Board and Recommendations Relating Thereto; 30 day Extension to August 31, 2012 for Compliance per Attorney General’s Office.
Chairman Montgomery referred to a Resolution provided by Attorney Bill Whittington acknowledging receipt of the Attorney General (AG) findings and agreeing to the terms set forth therein. Mr. Whittington added that the AG’s office also granted SFD a 30 day extension for compliance; Mr. Montgomery acknowledged the extension gives more time to fulfill the AG’s requests including transcription of
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Mr. Montgomery then entertained a motion to approve the Resolution; Board Member Nazih Hazime so moved and a second was given by Board Member Diane Schoen.
Mr. Montgomery said this Resolution will be made public, but essentially, summarizes the AG’s requirements for compliance and the 30 day extension to fulfill same. He then called for the vote which passed unanimously at 5 to 0.
2. Lowell Johnson Complaint.
No action was taken on this item.
IV. PUBLIC BUDGET HEARING.
A. Public Comments – Re: Fiscal Year 2012/2013 Sedona Fire District Budget; Staff Response.
Chairman Montgomery asked if members of the public wished to speak regarding the FY 2012/13 SFD budget; Fire Marshal Gary Johnson responded there were none at this time, but received several requests for later Agenda items. Mr. Montgomery closed the public hearing and asked for Board comments.
B. Discussion/Possible Action: Resolution #2012-06, Approval of Fiscal Year Budget 2012/13.
Mrs. Cooperman said the Board has gone over this budget in several Board and Budget meetings, and when she ran for this office, she made the statement she wanted any increase in SFD’s mil levy to be “tax neutral”; she believes that has been accomplished with this budget because, overall, the amount of tax revenue will be approximately equal to last year. Mrs. Schoen moved to adopt the Sedona Fire District Fiscal Year 2012/2013 budget and to approve Resolution #2012-06; Mr. Hazime seconded. There was no further discussion and the motion was unanimously approved at 5 to 0.
V. PUBLIC FORUM.
A. Public Comments.
Rich Collister, West Sedona: First, I want to say what a pleasure it is seeing the new Board Members up there. It’s good to see intelligent, open-minded Board Members who are willing to assimilate information and make decisions and communicate these decisions openly and honestly to Sedona. Quite a contrast to the mumbling dishonesty, and nonsensical rhetoric we were constantly subjected to by the three recalled Board Members. Also, it is really appreciated that Corrie Cooperman and Diane Schoen took time to visit the fire district and various firehouses, as well as fire personnel. This was done, I believe, so as Board Members, they could firsthand see how their fire department actually operates so they can make intelligent decisions regarding such. It shows a real respect for what Firefighters actually do, and a real desire to make competent decisions regarding public safety.
Yet another contrast to the recalled Board Members who thought they could govern over a fire district when they had no idea how Sedona Fire District operated nor did they care. Furthermore, they showed nothing more than contempt, disrespect, and distrust for their own fire experts. Also, I would like to say something about the back and forth that went on at the last Board meeting, maybe it was the Board meeting before that, between Chief Hazime and Craig Dible, regarding the mil rate and property taxes…property values.
Craig, coming from Beverly Hills, you may think you’re a lot smarter than us common folks from New York; however, as a property owner here in Sedona and contrary to your prior statements, I don’t consider it a tax increase if the mil rate goes up to maintain a level of fire service because my property value has decreased. If I pay the same in 2012 as I paid in 2011, I don’t consider that a tax increase, and conversely, if the mil rate were to drop because my property value increased, and I paid the same tax in 2012 as compared to 2011, I don’t consider that a tax decrease. I call that paying the same amount of tax from one year to the next.
This type of nonsensical rhetoric coming from you sounds like a bunch of Tea Party double-talk and I don’t find it to be helpful. And, also, one more thing, by the way, I don’t need a lesson by you on how to read my tax bill. Us common folk, like myself, can interpret how to read my tax bill by myself. Thank you.
Dave Blauert, West Sedona: First, Mrs. Cooperman, at the last meeting, you made a comment that LEA Architects did over 200 fire stations in the State of Arizona, you’re wrong. Not true. They did about a third of that, and some are remodels and just additions to fire department. Just wanted to clarify that. Please look it up on the Internet; it’s quite easy to find. Secondly, the design that has been thrown around. It’s their
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normal design that they use in just about every fire station. Good or bad. It’s nothing unique for Sedona.
Secondly, Chairman Montgomery, it’s been brought to my attention that someone on the SFD Board has failed to uphold Open Meeting Law. Confidential information regarding the findings of Attorney General about myself and other previous Board Members were given by the Attorney General’s Office to the Board Members, and they leaked it to the press.
At this time, I have still not received a copy of these findings. It is disappointing that the laws you accuse me of, that you publicly broken by you or a member of the Board. I have filed a complaint with the SFD Board to Attorney General in the violation of the Open Meeting Law and its infractions. When I receive the findings from the AG’s Office, I’ll make an assessment of the damages and take appropriate action. It’s been publicly displayed that you’re not capable of running this Board…because the laws have been broken and privileged confidential matters that concern the taxpayers of our community. Thank you.
Mr. Montgomery said as criticism was directed at him, he would like to respond. Mr. Whittington said the law requires you wait until the public comment session is over before doing so, and reminded the Board that nothing from Executive Session could be shared. Mr. Montgomery stated he would wait to respond.
Guillermo Lupi, Village of Oak Creek: I’m kind of new here to this area, I was invited by somebody and I gladly came here. I have a very short point to make, and that is in regard to the way the reports are presented. I certainly would love to see in the reports where we were last year, where we are, and where we want to go. I don’t think it’s enough just to show what we are doing as of today. Thank you for your time gentlemen and ladies.
After determining there were no other speakers for Public Forum, Mr. Montgomery addressed Mr. Blauert’s criticism. He stated the Attorney General’s findings are public record and available for anyone to see; Mr. Montgomery pointed out the document was “CC’d” to the Complainant, a citizen of SFD, and was not exclusively sent to the Board; he informed Mr. Blauert that if he has not received a copy, it is available as a public record.
Mr. Blauert interjected that the Attorney General had sent Mr. Whittington the document and that Mr. Blauert first learned about it in the media; Mr. Blauert said Mr. Whittington sent the document to the Board and, again, stated it was confidential information. Mr. Montgomery said the document was sent to the Complainant and that he knows the Complainant made the document public; he believes Mr. Blauert’s accusations are misdirected; Mr. Blauert said it is not and the AG’s findings were sent to the Attorney of record, which is Mr. Whittington, and it was classified as confidential, and Mr. Whittington took it upon himself to send it to the Fire Board; Mr. Montgomery, again, pointed out that at the end of the document, it states “CC” to Complainant, which means it was not only sent to the Board and Attorney and suggested that Mr. Blauert’s anger was misguided; Mr. Blauert responded, “No, it isn’t anger” and that he had checked with the AG’s office and was told that this should not be brought to the public; Mr. Montgomery affirmed that no one on this Board leaked the information and he knows that the Complainant, the individual who filed the complaints against Mr. Blauert and the former Board, received a copy and, likely, that is where the media received the information; Mr. Montgomery said the Complainant had the right to distribute the information, as it was a public record; Mr. Blauert said that is not what the AG’s office told him; Mr. Montgomery said that is not true because it is a public record, which he had confirmed.
B. Executive Staff Response to Public Comments.
Chief Kazian had no response to the Public Comments.
VI. CONSENT AGENDA.
A. Consent Agenda – Discussion/Possible Action:
1. June 6, 2012 SFD Public Budget and Special Business Meeting Minutes.
2. June 6, 2012 Executive Session Minutes.
3. June 13, 2012 Public Budget and Business Meeting Minutes.
Mrs. Cooperman moved to approve the Consent Agenda, as presented; Mrs. Schoen seconded, and the motion was unanimously passed at 5 to 0.
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VII. BUSINESS MEETING.
A. Badge-Pinning Ceremony for: 1. Battalion Chief Eric “Buzz” Lechowski.
2. Fire Inspector Kevin Sullivan.
Chief Kazian stated it is an honor and privilege to hold this badge pinning ceremony for SFD. He then introduced newly promoted, Eric “Buzz” Lechowski to the position of Battalion Chief; he said Battalion Chiefs are responsible for 23 individuals under their command, and instrumental in the day to day operation of the district; Chief Kazian said Buzz Lechowski has been a SFD employee for 15 years. Chief Lechowski’s mother pinned his badge in the presence of his wife, sister, and children.
Chief Kazian said SFD’s Fire Inspector recently retired, and the district went through a process to find a qualified replacement; he then introduced Kevin Sullivan as SFD’s new Fire Inspector and read his biographical information including his achievement of a Masters degree in Fire Science; Inspector Sullivan was pinned by his wife in the presence of their daughter.
B. Items from Staff:
1. Monthly Staff Report – Fire Chief Kris Kazian.
Mr. Montgomery said pursuant to an excellent suggestion by Mrs. Cooperman, the Monthly Staff Report has been moved up in the Agenda. He then asked Chief Kazian to give his report, as follows:
There were 8 calls for residential or commercial assignments in June, with two of those being highlighted in the report distributed to the Board; on 6/15/12, crews responded to a fully involved house fire in the Red Rock Loop area, without a nearby hydrant, requiring the laying of about 1,200 feet of large diameter hose; it is believed the fire started in the garage, but the exact cause is undetermined.
On 6/20/12, SFD received a call for a residential fire, which was extinguished by sprinklers and contained to the area of origin, and, thankfully, there were no injuries; units responded to the scene within five minutes. He reported there were 319 total calls for service in June, slightly down from the past few months, and 1,934 calls year-to-date.
2. Wildland Fire Update.
Chief Kazian stated it has been a busy wildland fire season, but with the recent rains, SFD’s fire ban has been lifted; however, the fire danger in other areas of the country is still high.
SFD has one dispatcher at the Horse Creek fire in Montana, and a team was deployed to Colorado at the Weber fire and from there to the Pine Ridge fire and then, to a fire in South Dakota; that SFD crew has returned, but we are expecting more deployments in the near future. He reminded residents to make sure their property has defensible space.
Chief Kazian stated SFD is fully reimbursed for the costs of our personnel and receives additional revenues as well. He said the Firefighters receive a good deal of overtime during deployments (which are fully reimbursed to SFD from the State and Federal government), but wanted the public to know that although it will reflect on their W4s, it is not all funded by SFD.
3. June 2012 Financial Report.
Mr. Montgomery asked Finance Manager Sandi Schmidt for comments; she replied they would probably get updated information for the fiscal year in August; Chief Kazian added that SFD operates on an accrual accounting basis and will continue to collect revenues for the next few months before closing out the year.
4. Pink Heals / Cancer Awareness/Prevention Event – July 27, 2012, Station #1.
Chief Kazian invited the public to attend the “pink fire truck” event on Friday, 7/27/12 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM; hamburgers and hot dogs will be sold as a fundraiser for the Love 4 Amanda cancer awareness foundation to help local children diagnosed with cancer; additionally, SFD’s fundraising paver project will be unveiled; pavers may still be purchased at Station 1. Chief Kazian said employees purchased pink shirts and wear them proudly to work this month to bring awareness to those touched by the effects of cancer.
5. Discussion/Possible Action: Renewal of Agreements for Dispatching Services with:
a. Black Canyon City Fire District.
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b. Camp Verde Fire District.
c. Clarkdale Fire District.
d. Cottonwood Fire Department.
e. Jerome Fire Department.
f. Mayer Fire District.
g. Montezuma-Rimrock Fire District.
h. Pinewood Fire District.
i. Verde Valley Fire District;
j. Verde Valley Ambulance Company.
k. Joint Consent and Waiver for Legal Representation.
Chief Kazian informed the Board of an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) for dispatching services which need updating; Mr. Whittington was asked to review the IGA with Cottonwood Fire to start the process; staff took the document approved by Mr. Whittington and used it as the “boiler plate” for the other IGAs. He is requesting Board direction for either approval or further review to send out to the other agencies; as Mr. Whittington serves as legal counsel for many of the involved agencies, a joint Consent and Waiver for legal representation is also being presented for approval. Mr. Montgomery clarified that Mr. Whittington does not represent Cottonwood Fire, so discussion of that IGA is allowed; he confirmed all members of the Board received a copy of the IGA. Mr. Whittington commented it was updated to comply with recent laws.
Board member Nazih Hazime stated he would abstain from voting on this item as his employer, Verde Valley Fire District, is one of the included agencies.
Board Member Craig Dible referred to the previous IGAs and said some have expired; Chief Kazian said some are out of date, and need to be renewed. Mr. Dible referred to Page 3 of the template, regarding the five year term with automatic renewal for one year terms thereafter unless written notice is provided within 90 days of the then-current term; he also referenced Section 8 which states, “Either party may terminate this agreement at any time with at least one year written notification”, and pointed out we are in the process of, hopefully, consolidating the fire dispatch services at a joint facility in Cottonwood and one year seems an overly long lead time; he requested that be shortened to six months because if the joint facility is ready to receive subscribers, a six month time period would be more reasonable.
Chief Kazian said SFD has a business model for its dispatch center and if there were a group of agencies moving to another facility, one year would give SFD time to prepare; likewise, he said, if there was a need for SFD to move to another facility, one year gives us time to fulfill obligations to agencies which may choose not to go to the joint facility; as always, he said there is a “pro and con” from a business standpoint. Mr. Dible said the other agencies must also agree and suspects one year may be problematic. Mr. Montgomery asked if the one year term was a change from past IGAs; Mr. Whittington stated he does not recall. Mr. Dible commented Cottonwood Fire had an annual renewal; Mr. Montgomery said agencies could terminate by, in effect, “buying themselves out” and if the agencies wanted to terminate “tomorrow”, SFD could legally charge them for the remainder of the year per the contract, which ensures income for SFD by leaving the term in place; Chief Kazian said as a business model, he is in favor of leaving the one year term, and the goal is to have all the IGAs renewed with the same terminology. He said once the joint Consent and Waiver form is signed, administrative staff can begin negotiations with the agencies. Chief Kazian pointed out Cottonwood’s joint facility is probably two to two and a half years away from opening, so there is no immediate concern. Mr. Hazime asked if he is entitled to state his opinion or just to abstain from voting on this issue; Mr. Whittington responded his abstention does not allow him to address the issue.
Mrs. Schoen expressed her opinion that the termination clause should remain at one year, as it is typical and six months is too short a period of time. Chief Kazian said these IGAs are being provided by SFD to the agencies, and their legal representation would be negotiating and if one year is not agreeable, then SFD would work it out as a contractual issue.
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Mrs. Cooperman stated her desire to protect SFD’s revenue stream for dispatch service by keeping the one year terminology. Mr. Montgomery asked the Board if there was a motion to change the one year terminology and there was none. Mr. Whittington pointed out the “boiler plate” IGA is not included on the Agenda for approval and it is fair to accept the Fire Chief’s description of the “boiler plate” IGA as the way they are written, and the Board could approve the specific contracts as listed on the Agenda. Mr. Montgomery then entertained a motion to approve the IGAs to be sent to the agencies for negotiation through Fire Chief Kazian, which was provided by Mrs. Schoen as follows: I move to approve the renewal agreements for dispatching services with Black Canyon City Fire District, Camp Verde Fire District, Clarkdale Fire District, Cottonwood Fire Department, Jerome Fire Department, Mayer Fire District, Montezuma-Rimrock Fire District, Pinewood Fire District, Verde Valley Fire District, and Verde Valley Ambulance Company, and to also approve the Joint Consent and Waiver for legal representation, as listed; Mrs. Cooperman seconded, and the motion passed with Mrs. Cooperman, Mr. Dible, Mr. Montgomery, and Mrs. Schoen voting in favor, and with Mr. Hazime abstaining.
6. Discussion/Possible Action: Resolution #2012-07, Disposition of Surplus Property. (Battalion Chief Scott Schwisow/Captain Mark Rippy)
Chief Kazian stated Captain Mark Rippy and Battalion Chief Scott Schwisow reviewed the surplus equipment, and provided a list of equipment deemed to be surplus, past its useful life, and no longer needed by SFD; this is in the Resolution provided to the Board.
Chief Kazian requested permission to declare this equipment surplus and dispose of it accordingly. Mr. Montgomery asked the Chief to clarify his intentions for disposal; Chief Kazian said Mammoth Fire, a new fire department in Arizona, is in desperate need of equipment; however, the intention is to first advertise the equipment for sale on the Internet for two weeks; if there is no interest in purchasing the equipment, it will be donated to Mammoth with a liability release; Mr. Montgomery clarified that whether the equipment is donated or sold, there will be a liability release and Chief Kazian confirmed same; he also said although this equipment no longer has value to SFD, there are agencies in the US and other countries who need equipment and would consider “anything” better than “nothing”. Mrs. Cooperman then moved to approve Resolution #2012-07, for disposition of surplus property; Mr. Hazime seconded, and the motion passed unanimously at 5 to 0.
7. Discussion/Possible Action: Purchase Order #7702, Medusa Medical Technologies – Annual Renewal of License and Software Support, $18,029.20.
Chief Kazian said this is an annual renewal of license and software for SFD’s electronic patient care reporting system and is over the allowed signature limit for staff; its approval will allow SFD to continue maintaining our system. Mr. Montgomery confirmed this is a budgeted item; Chief Kazian agreed and stated this was initially budgeted at $27,000 annually, but because staff pursued a three year contract commitment, savings were realized. Mr. Hazime then moved to approve P.O. #7702 to Medusa Medical Technologies; Mr. Dible seconded, and the motion passed unanimously at 5 to 0.
8. Discussion/Possible Action: Purchase Order #8092, Cindy Elbert Insurance – SFD General Insurance Coverage Package, $87,320.
Chief Kazian said is the annual invoice for SFD’s vehicle, property, and liability insurance, which are paid quarterly with the first installment being $22,408.25. Mrs. Cooperman moved to approve P.O. #8092 to Cindy Elbert Insurance; Mrs. Schoen seconded, and the motion was unanimously approved at 5 to 0.
9. Discussion/Possible Action: Purchase Order #8093, Walker & Armstrong, LLP – Annual Auditing Services for FY 2012, $17,000.
Chief Kazian stated every year, SFD has a statutorily required audit and wants to continue its engagement with Walker and Armstrong; he said the Board would also need to sign the letter of engagement, if the PO is approved. Mr. Montgomery then entertained a motion to approve P.O. #8093 with Walker & Armstrong; Mr. Hazime so moved, Mrs. Cooperman seconded. Mr. Montgomery asked if this is an item that is put out for bid; Mrs. Schmidt responded this was bid upon and usually SFD stays with an auditing firm for five years for consistency. Upon calling for the vote, the motion was unanimously approved at 5 to 0.
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C. Items from Board Member Craig Dible:
1. Discussion: Legal Representation.
Mr. Dible referenced a letter dated 6/13/12 sent to Attorney Blake Whiteman, which Mr. Montgomery had said he would send a draft with copies to the Board; Mr. Dible stated he did not receive the copy until three or four days ago and the understanding is that when matters are handled on behalf of the Board, all members would have copies in advance before finalization. Mr. Montgomery commented the point is taken and he understands Mr. Dible’s concern, but the motion was made and passed. Mrs. Schoen stated she remembers very clearly the Board directing Chairman Montgomery to write the letter. Mr. Dible said this discussion is in the Minutes of the 6/13/12 meeting and there is no point in arguing.
2. Discussion: Midway (Chapel) Fire Station.
Joan McClelland, Village of Oak Creek: I simply encourage you to, when you…I don’t know if this decision has been made to go ahead with the Midway Station, but if it is, I would like you to very seriously consider the packet that Mr. Dible put up which saves the taxpayers an awful lot of money and solves the purposes for which the Midway Station is needed. Thank you for listening to me.
Wendy Tanzer, Village of Oak Creek: During the last regular Board meeting, Mr. Dible was told by two Board Members he was overstepping Board authority by requesting cost estimates or bids for the Midway Station; that was staff’s responsibility. So, I was quite surprised to see his discussion of the Midway Fire Station listed yet again on this month’s Agenda. Mr. Dible’s persistence prompted some investigation and I now have several questions, which I presume he will be able to address as this directly pertains to an agendized item.
One, does Mr. Dible realize any proposals provided under these circumstances are entirely invalid? There are legally mandated requests for proposal procedures that must be conducted by the fire district, not rogue members of its Board prior to consideration of any received proposals. Did he miss that step, or do district requirements simply not apply to him? One of the two cost estimates Mr. Dible presented is from Seay Construction, whose letterhead indicates a business address exactly the same as that of recalled and subsequently defeated former-SFD Board Chairman Dave Blauert. Looking into the contractor’s license number provided on that estimate, it revealed Dave Blauert as an officer of Seay Construction Inc. The 2nd cost estimate Mr. Dible presented is from Sun Ray Homes. The qualifying party on this contractor’s license and signatory on the bid is one and the same, Raymond Scott. Raymond Scott is not only on record as a substantial contributor to Mr. Blauert’s failed bid for re-election, but his business address is exactly the same as that of DHS Partners, an endeavor in which Craig Dible and Raymond Scott are in business together.
Is Mr. Dible aware of Arizona Statute prohibiting public officers from profiting – quote – during their service and for two years thereafter – end quote? The penalty for such a violation can be severe as a Class 5 felony, as well as the offender being required to – quote – forfeit his public office, if any – end quote – or be – quote – forever disqualified from holding any office in the State – end quote. This appears to be blatant intentional collusion, Mr. Dible. Can you explain to the people why a seated SFD Governing Board Member would voluntarily involve himself in this kind of suspicious, potentially illegal, and certainly, conspiratorial behavior? Did you really think no one would notice, no one would verify the information you were spoon-feeding us and, subsequently, find those glaring misdeeds to which you, sir, are a party?
Clearly, no member of the public should be complacent in believing all the information disseminated by Mr. Dible to be fair, unbiased, and without ulterior motive. I urge this Board to summarily dismiss the folly of Mr. Dible’s time-wasting farce. It’s time to accept the proposals already presented by the legitimately appointed Chapel Station Committee and put an end to this charade. Thank you.
Doug Ayres – Village of Oak Creek: Thanks, Mr. Dible, for his attempt at a research report and the sales DVD. Unfortunately, profitable business approaches cannot be utilized by government. People don’t understand that. Run it like a business, which we just heard about, government has to follow precise and strict procedures to secure plans and construction. The Dible – slash – Glenwood Springs report has several purely government problems. Among those problems are, and these are just a few of them, I just…it’s handwritten sitting here… open bid processes and evaluations for design, engineering, and
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construction are required by law. The mountain cabin style would be totally inconsistent with the neighborhood. Access to and the size and proximity to the churches and single-family homes need special attention. The size of the lot needs special access attention. Cheap and effective almost always are incompatible, public or private, and I use the word cheap in the usual context.
Public buildings must be durable and efficient, even if by some people they are thought to be expensive. Definition of term. Public buildings must have longevity and appropriate components for the specific technical tasks the structure will perform. As a former public official, I probably have been in the process of building several hundred fire stations, so I think I know what the hell I’m talking about.
Anyway, please do not repeat some lurid past-Board practices. Follow the open bid and full expense planning process, as set out in Federal and Arizona law and longstanding Board policies. Please consider the very important Fire Insurance Rate impacts of response times and the 8 to 10 minute maximum heart stoppage to death limit. There are those of us in their 80s and beyond, such as me, who have no problem choosing between death and property taxes.
Fire Marshal Johnson informed the Board two citizens wish to speak under the later “Midway Station” item.
Mr. Dible said for those interested, he has his final report and DVD available; he set his criteria as suggestions for consideration, and listed his Midway Chapel Station goals; one of the things he found interesting at the recent Arizona Fire District Association (AFDA) conference was a Tucson architect named Michelson, who handed out information on designing stations as “doing more with less” and said one of the real costs of a fire station is the on-going operating and utility costs, which SFD does not know, although there are estimates.
He said regarding the appearance of the design, he appreciates the difference of opinion expressed, but one person’s attractive, architecturally appropriate building is another person’s “horror story”. Mr. Dible said he updated the Midway/Chapel Station History, which was previously through September 2009, and is now through June 13, 2012. He said one of the interesting things is when LEA was originally selected, as he recalls, there was no RFQ and it never went out to bid and two firms were looked at – LEA and Perlman Associates – and brought to the Board for consideration.
Mr. Dible said in his opinion, the Glenwood Springs design “gets the job done” and he included floor plans, background of the district, and that the station was built in 2003; he added one more letter from Robert West dated July 5, 2012, where he talked about the square footage cost of fire stations explaining how design elements result in dramatically different construction costs. Mr. Dible said Oz Architects are the second largest firm in Colorado with awards for design. He did get two bids from friends of his, both being contractors in Sedona for decades with excellent reputations, and was given cost estimates to build a station, which came in at about half the cost of the current proposal at under $700,000 with the cost to revise and get a set of working plans at $30,000 to $40,000; he said he has the floor plans and a fold-out sheet in the brochure, as well as a comparison and analysis for consideration of what he believes would be appropriate.
Mrs. Cooperman pointed out a correction is needed on Mr. Dible’s rendition of the history of the Chapel/Midway Station, being on May 24, 2011, that the SFD Chapel Station Study Committee held its first meeting and would meet twice in June and two more times in August; she clarified that the Study Committee met nine times; Mr. Dible said he would correct that.
Mrs. Schoen stated she had attended the same workshop at AFDA as Mr. Dible, and gave her report to management because she believes they should make these important recommendations to the Board; she said at the end of the workshop, someone asked about square footage costs and the same architect referred to previously by Mr. Dible, responded it was anywhere from $175 to $200 per square foot; she said that multiplied by the square footage would meet none of the bids suggested by Mr. Dible and she believes LEA has been honest about those per square foot costs in their proposals; she asked Chief Kazian to speak.
Chief Kazian said he has done some research and the “going rate” for commercial construction is about $200 per square foot; the figure Mr. Dible provided was $125 to $137 per square foot, which is less than others are quoting and Oz Architects quoted $150 to $300 per square foot in the documentation; Chief Kazian said $200 per square foot times 5,000 square feet is $1 million. He said the other issue with the
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design is the on-going costs of which Mr. Dible spoke, and the lower estimates include drywall for the interior, but in an apparatus bay, drywall does not work well, which causes him concern for long-term maintenance costs. He said whichever design is chosen, he recommends a “long, hard look” at the construction features, durability, and longevity of construction materials used in a commercial building, and not just a commercial building, but a fire station, which is a different “animal” in the way it is operated.
Mr. Hazime said Chief Kazian’s opinion is important and pointed out Mr. Dible’s information is not Chief Kazian’s recommendation, although he gave credit to Mr. Dible for the time and effort he put in for research; Mr. Hazime said based on what he said at the 6/13/12 Board meeting, he wants to divert this issue back to the Chief’s and staff’s expertise for fire station needs and believes the Board should allow the Chief to bring back his recommendation. Chief Kazian commented the quotes provided by Mr. Dible do not include a fire sprinkler system, space for a gear extractor to clean turn-out gear, a cascade system for filling air bottles, and other requirements; additionally, there are design concerns such as having to walk through the gear room to access other areas, which means being in contact with carcinogens; this is inconsistent with current design applications; also, the physical fitness room leaves little space for training and storage; he said he told Mr. Dible if this was a design the Board chose, they would still need to increase the size because the design misses key elements in operating a fire station for SFD; he said with those square footage increases come additional costs. He clarified the $1.5 million which has been discussed is an “earmark” and is not “set in stone” and the building could be less, but until the design is agreed upon and bids received, it is only a “guesstimate”. He does not want that figure to be taken as an absolute, but rather, for the Board and public to understand the cost will be what is needed to operate the fire station for SFD.
3. Update: Regional Communications Center.
Mr. Dible has a summary of Cottonwood City Council Minutes from a meeting held on June 28, 2012, about direction regarding the design and construction of a Cottonwood Public Safety Communication Center; he said staff and City Council discussed options related to building and operating a communications center to dispatch for Cottonwood Police and Fire and also for neighboring cities, towns, and districts; he said City Council directed staff to move forward with the project; both he and Chief Kazian have had conversations with Doug Bartosh regarding this project in the last few days and it is “a go”; he said they would need to keep track of the progress and when Cottonwood finally comes up with a per call basis, SFD would see if it works financially. Mr. Dible then asked if Chief Kazian had comments or questions.
Chief Kazian said it appears the City of Cottonwood will build a dispatch center for themselves whether or not other agencies join them and with that, comes the interest of trying to make a regional dispatch center for police and fire; he believes it is a work in progress with many issues still needing to be addressed; Mr. Bartosh is working to address those and expects it to be 30 to 60 days before he has answers; he reported they are working on financing and how they will make the project work for the City of Cottonwood. Chief Kazian said it is very important to realize the need SFD has to provide dispatch services for our residents and SFD has an enterprise for providing dispatch to 10 other agencies at this time; any decisions made to go forward in a regional communications center, different than the one we already provide, will need to be taken with diligence, patience, and caution to make sure all issues are addressed satisfactorily.
Chief Kazian requested an understanding moving forward of who will be the point of contact for this project as it is difficult to manage with other things happening in the dispatch/telecommunication arena outside of this; he is working on other options and opportunities, all of which are in the interest of SFD’s dispatch services being at a better, reasonable cost either here or somewhere else; he recommends that the Board make a decision tonight to assign a point of contact whether it be him or Mr. Dible, but finds it difficult for both he and Mr. Dible to be calling Mr. Bartosh.
Mr. Dible said he is “out of here” in a couple of months, so suggests that Chief Kazian be the point of contact. Mr. Hazime asked that the Board be kept updated; Chief Kazian confirmed he would. Mrs. Schoen then clarified that no Board Member, none of them, would be the point of contact on this project, that they will not interfere in any way, and that Chief Kazian will be the point of contact; she asked if a motion was needed; Mr. Whittington said it could be
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agreed through consensus of the Board; Mr. Montgomery stated the Board’s consensus is for Chief Kazian to be the point of contact and that he should let Mr. Bartosh know.
4. Discussion/Possible Action: Schedule some SFD Fire Board meetings at Station 3 in the Village of Oak Creek.
Joan McClelland – Village of Oak Creek: At our last Big Park Council meeting, the Chief was there and I brought up the question, couldn’t we have some of our meetings…the Fire Board meetings in the Village. I’ll tell you a little history. Many, many years ago and not this Board and not the Board before you, but go way back, a bunch of us came from the Village one snowy night to a meeting because on the Agenda was, Where Will the Fire Board Hold its Meetings, and we thought, oh, maybe they want to meet out in the Village. No, it was whether you will meet on this floor or the next floor. I mean, OK, there we go, guys. So, from that time, we’ve been pursuing it and fortunately, a couple of years ago, we started to have some meetings in the Village and they’re well attended and it really is a convenience because there’s a lot of people that live out there and they really, really would appreciate it if you could consider having some meetings out in the Village. Thank you. And I thank you for putting it on the Agenda.
Mrs. Schoen stated she is in favor of representing the public all over the fire district, and thinks it is a good idea to have meetings in different locations to make it more convenient for more people to attend, but her concern is about the videotaping for those people unable to attend meetings; she asked if Station 3 in the VOC is equipped to videotape the meetings; Chief Kazian responded, currently, it is not capable of doing so. Mr. Hazime commented the Minutes would still be available. Mr. Dible said he has a proposal that Steve DeVol who has been in Sedona for 21 years with 45 years experience in commercial video, tape the VOC meetings at a cost of $200 per meeting. Mr. Dible then moved to hold two meetings in the VOC Station in October 2012 and in March 2013, and hire Steven DeVol to record the meetings for the SFD website. Mr. Hazime commented he wished there was another way to do it, rather than pay for those services, but agreed some meetings should be held in the VOC. Mr. Montgomery asked if there was a second to Mr. Dible’s motion and Mrs. Cooperman provided it.
Mr. Montgomery called for discussion; Mr. Dible recommended having a professional do the videotaping. Mr. Hazime asked if we had to video record the VOC meetings; Chief Kazian said SFD is not legally bound to videotape. Mr. Hazime said we provide Minutes and the public could read what happens. Mr. Montgomery said his concern would be with the Board selecting a videographer without researching costs, and believes we should follow district procedures for hiring; Chief Kazian asked if Mr. Montgomery wants staff to do the research. Mrs. Cooperman speculated there may be a professional willing to volunteer services to videotape the meetings. Mr. Montgomery said he knows it is possible to buy a high definition web-camera for about $100, but is not sure of the connectivity between stations and how it gets on to the website. Fire Marshal Gary Johnson said he would need to defer to SFD’s IT Technician, Jeremy Harris, who could propose options if that is the Board’s desire. Mr. Montgomery asked what other work would be involved for staff if the meetings are moved to the VOC; Marshal Johnson said one issue in that room is for the public to hear and there is no AV system; he said in the past, SFD rented AV equipment and feels it may be more detrimental to dismantle Station 1’s equipment and move it to Station 3; he said staff could check on current pricing. He explained the Station 1 system involves recording the meetings and then, IT transfers the tape to the website. He suggested if this is what the Board desires, to have the IT section involved.
Mr. Dible said the Big Park Regional Council meets at VOC once a month without amplification and has no problem with people hearing; Marshal Johnson said the issue is when there are many people in that room, there are sound problems and our Board meetings involve back and forth discussion which the audience may not be able to follow; he recommended staff looking at the pros and cons of the proposals and give the information to the Board to make an educated decision. Mr. Dible amended his previous motion to have a Board meeting in the VOC in October 2012 and March 2013, to work out the technical details at a later time. Mrs. Cooperman said she would like it to be stated that the Board will direct staff to look into the potential for having two meetings a year in the VOC. Mr. Dible then withdrew his previous motion.
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Mrs. Cooperman then moved to ask staff to investigate the feasibility of providing AV and video to have two meetings a year at Station 3; Mrs. Schoen seconded. Mr. Hazime said depending on costs, he would like to see six meetings at Station 3 and six here. Chief Kazian said if there will be six meetings per year in the VOC, he would recommend having full-scale equipment to invest in the future of the organization, which means additional expense. Mrs. Schoen stated she does not believe the public wants the district to spend money on anything, and she had seconded the motion for management to look into this, but is not in favor of it being cost-prohibitive; she suggested there are other ways to include VOC participation and, again, stated she believes management should research this and bring it back to the Board at next month’s meeting. Mr. Montgomery then called for the vote on the previous motion to have staff look at the feasibility of costs to have audio and video recording for two meetings a year at Station 3, which was unanimously approved at 5 to 0.
D. Item from Board Clerk Corrie Cooperman:
1. Correction Statement from Meeting of June 13, 2012.
Mrs. Cooperman agendized this to be able to correct a statistic she gave at the last Board meeting; Mrs. Cooperman stated she made a mistake in the number of fire stations that LEA Architects built; this was an unfortunate miscommunication because when she called LEA, an employee thought Mrs. Cooperman was asking for the total number of projects which was given to her at 200 or more; since then, she telephoned LEA and talked to their project manager, who gave her the exact number of fire stations LEA has built at 110, which is in her opinion, still a very laudable number showing their experience.
E. Item from Board Chairman Ty Montgomery:
1. Monthly Update: Fees from April 2011 to Current for SFD Legal Services Provided.
Mr. Montgomery informed the Board legal bills for June were $6,236, which were for Mr. Whittington’s first month back as counsel and “getting up to speed” on pending matters; his goal is to be about $3,000 for monthly legal fees. Mr. Dible stated many of the legal fees are out of the Board’s control and generated externally; he said “it ain’t our fault; it just happens” and he anticipates seeing more of that in the future.
2. Discussion/Possible Action: Midway Fire Station.
a. Financing Option.
b. Selection of Architect.
James Evans – Chapel Area: I have some concerns about the Glenwood Springs Fire Station design. The Midway Station will most likely be used for 40 to 60 years, so it should be built large enough to house six people. Two are needed to staff an ambulance, while four are required on an engine. It may not be needed now, but the Sedona area will continue to grow and this means that all facilities should be able to accommodate six people. The one bed-two bed-bathroom arrangement has the following problems. The two bed room has little privacy for the two occupants. Access to the bathroom will be very limited for anyone other than the three occupants since anyone else would have to go through one of the two bedrooms. The three occupants will also share the assorted bathroom noises – which may or may not occur in fire stations. All four bedrooms will open up to a noisy kitchen-day room area, and one of these bedroom combinations will also face 179 road noise. The kitchen-day room looks too small. Where will the physical fitness equipment be located?
A community room is not needed, but a training room is. The one proposed looks too small. Is the utility room large enough for a water heater, furnace, water softener, radio equipment, etc.? Where does contaminated gear get washed? Where does paperwork get filled out and securely stored? Where does the duty officer have privacy to discuss personnel issues? Storage in general appears to be minimal. The drawings need revision to fit the site, to meet state and local building codes, and to accommodate the differences in climate. Are the interior and exterior materials durable, requiring minimum maintenance? Considerable time was spent with LEA choosing suitable materials based on experiences at Station 3. LEA has built over 100 fire stations and has considerable knowledge about the
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durability of various materials in fire stations. The bays need redesign since they hold four vehicles instead of two and this location requires drive-through bays. This building has been discussed since 2007. It is now time to build a station that will provide the necessary facilities for years to come with minimum maintenance. The Glenwood Springs design would work as would many other designs. However, I do not think it is adequate for the needs of this district. However, if the primary goal is to build one as cheaply as possible, then one should look at a prefab, metal garage and a mobile home. That would do the job for a while and would be cheap.
Karen Schmitt – Chapel Area: Might I have a minute or two extra, if I need it? Chairman Montgomery indicated she could.
I just wanted to say before I start that Dave Blauert tonight reminded us of why he was recalled by accusing the Board unfairly, dishonestly, and without reason, of leaking information. I happen to know this because I also know he’s not telling the truth about contacting the AG’s Office because when I contacted them to make sure it was OK to let this information out, they said it was public information. And, so, I distributed the information to about 150 people, who one of them sent it to the media. So, it’s not me, but it was and is public information from the time that report went out.
And, Mr. Blauert, you did not call the AG about that. OK, I just don’t like to see people wrongfully accused. On July 10th, my husband called 9-1-1 because I was semi-conscious and had been struggling to breathe. They came as quickly as they could from Uptown. When they arrived, I was sitting on the edge of the bed breathing somewhat better, but still confused. Five Firefighters simultaneously proceeded to diagnose the problem. We didn’t know what was wrong. Like a well-oiled machine – was it a coronary? One hooked me up to a portable EKG. No. Was it a stroke? Can you smile and tell us who’s President? No. Another started up a nebulizer to help my breathing, while still another asked my husband if he could see what kind of meds I was taking.
On hearing I was diabetic, they did a glucose test and discovered I was in diabetic shock. When they saw how low my sugar was, one of the Firefighters took my husband aside to mix up some orange juice and make me a peanut butter sandwich. The Firefighters discovered that I had been teetering on the edge of a diabetic coma, exacerbated by a severe asthmatic attack. Either of which could have been fatal, if not for Mike, my husband, calling 9-1-1.
I’d like to add two more votes to the call for a Chapel Station, so that our neighbors and we, too, can enjoy the same response times as the rest of Sedona. After the Firefighters left, my husband and I sat on the edge of the bed discussing the lifesaving, professional service I had just received. He had been every bit as glad to see those Firefighters as I was. I thought of the former Fire Board who so strongly resented the taxes they pay for this service and who have translated those feelings into political actions taken against the Sedona Fire District. Mrs. Erick, Mr. Blauert, Dible and Christensen, the sad thing is that I doubt if you realize that you would get the very same treatment I did – the stellar service – when you initiate a call for help, exactly the same treatment. I’ve been trying to think of the best way to thank the wonderful Firefighters who responded to my husband’s 9-1-1 call for help that day. Somehow a simple thank you just doesn’t seem sufficient, but thank you.
Mr. Montgomery said we have been discussing this station for a long time with multiple Citizen Committees; he said his constituents have overwhelmingly told him they support the station; although the Board decided last month to defer this to August, due to recent occurrences, he elected to bring it to tonight’s Agenda. Mr. Montgomery said he appreciates Mr. Dible’s input, but is more in favor of the LEA Architects’ design, which has been vetted and gone through the Citizen Committee and through multiple years of scrutiny. He stated further divisiveness about what will be or not be built is unproductive.
Mr. Montgomery then moved to sub-section b. of this item and made a motion to approve to use LEA Architects to move forward with the redesign for $69,400, which was provided as an estimate for the redesign; Chief Kazian said there was a $6,000 contingency for a total of $75,000 reallocated in the budget; Mr. Montgomery then amended his previous motion to approve $75,000 to move forward with the redesign of the Midway Station through LEA Architects; Mrs. Schoen seconded. Mr. Montgomery opened the discussion; Mrs. Cooperman said like Mr. Montgomery, she feels this need for the community has been discussed for too long, even prior to 2007; she acknowledged that Chief Kazian wanted this agendized next month, but because this issue came up again, she is in favor of the proposal to move
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forward. Mr. Montgomery then called for the vote which passed with Mrs. Cooperman, Mr. Hazime, Mr. Montgomery, and Mrs. Schoen voting in favor and Mr. Dible voting against.
Under sub-section c., Mr. Montgomery said, previously, Chief Keller “guesstimated” about $40,000 for permits and licensing. He included this due to the possible need to approve contingency funds, if there were permits required in the next 30 to 60 days; Chief Kazian said they would need to meet with LEA and discuss some issues with redesigning, and does not see anything happening for permitting within the next 30 to 60 days, although they could allocate the budgeted money for it, if necessary. Mr. Montgomery asked about the 14 month estimate for building; Chief Kazian said if everything went perfectly and without snags, it might be 14 months to “roll the first truck out of there”, but a lot of “ifs” remain getting to that point including going to RFP for the contractor; he said that would be the best case scenario. Mr. Montgomery expressed his belief that is all the more reason we need to get started and SFD already invested a lot of money into LEA and the majority of this Board has agreed to move forward with LEA.
Mr. Montgomery included “Financing Options”, but wants to defer that discussion because funds have been “earmarked” in the budget and further discussion will be held in the future about the finance terms. He then asked Chief Kazian to contact LEA to inform them of the Board’s decision to move forward.
Mr. Hazime commented he certainly wants to utilize local contractors as much as possible for this project. Mr. Whittington interjected that the law does not permit you to favor local contractors, although you may favor Arizona contractors. Mr. Montgomery said we will go out for bids. Chief Kazian pointed out much more dialogue will be needed as we move forward to get the design completed, and he would do so as prudently, and as fiscally responsibly as possible. Mrs. Schoen said as a point of interest, from the Workshop she and Mr. Dible attended, which is in the handout she shared with the Chief, three different approaches to financing were suggested.
Chief Kazian said he is aware this project originally was utilizing the Construction Management Risk model, where the district works together with the architect and builder from the start, which means if the building comes in over budget, they share in the costs; he said, however, at this point, we want to get the redesign going forward, and at a later time, he will seek Board direction in the construction/finance method. Mr. Montgomery said there is no way to make everybody happy, but feels confident the majority of people that put him in this office and majority of people that have spoken to him about the Midway Station are supportive; he said we have almost “beaten this horse to death” and there are always other options, but believes it is time to make a decision and move forward.
VIII. FIRE MARSHAL’S SAFETY MESSAGE.
Fire Marshal Johnson reminded the public that the fire ban has been lifted due to recent rains, but we still need to be careful. He asked the audience to be proactive in making sure water is draining away from homes and advised them to make sure gutters are not “dammed up” around their homes to prevent flooding.
The meeting adjourned at 6:25 PM.
Corrie Cooperman, Clerk of the Board:tg