At the March 13 Chatfield City Council meeting, Fire Chief Ryan Priebe detailed recommended minimum benefit requirements, along with a proposal for an annual benefit increase.
The Public Service committee recommended minimum requirements for firefighters to qualify for annual service credits. Members must at a minimum attend 18 meetings/trainings and 25% of annual calls. Chief officers must attend 30% of annual calls along with the minimum number of meetings/trainings. Priebe noted that if a member failed to meet the minimum requirements for a particular year, he would not qualify for a service credit for that year, but could the following year should he meet the requirements for that year and/or years after.
These minimum requirements when met will be reported to the Chatfield Fire Relief Association. “Minnesota law allows fire departments to define active service standards locally.”
Priebe said that every year at the annual meeting in February, the financial position of the Relief Association is reviewed. They must maintain at least a 10% surplus. Funds are invested in a balanced way between stocks and fixed investments to maximize returns while minimizing risk.
It was determined at the recent annual meeting that a $150 pay increase was in order, or $1,750 per year of benefit. This increase can be achieved while maintaining an 11% surplus in Relief Association funds. The members also voted at the annual meeting to raise the annual member dues from $1 to $100.
A resolution to establish the Chatfield Fire Relief Association benefit at $1,750 per year of service was approved by the city council. City Clerk Joel Young explained with the city council’s approval of the Relief Association benefit, the city is required to stand behind the benefit. He said he hoped that this would not become necessary with the structure we have put into place. Fire department members are planning to help the fund grow more with some fundraisers.
Priebe explained that the fire department’s rescue struts are outdated. The purchase of new rescue struts is the only capital goods purchase scheduled for this year. A total of $6,000 has been budgeted for the purchase. The Public Services committee recommended purchase of new aluminum struts at a cost of $8,340. The struts are used to stabilize a vehicle and lift it when necessary for a rescue. Aluminum struts, while more expensive than steel struts ($6,745), have a much greater lifting capacity (10,000 pounds). For that reason they were considered a better value for function and safety. The purchase of the aluminum struts as recommended was approved. The old struts will be sold. The new struts are expected to have a life of 15 years.
Other business in brief
• Brian Burkholder, Public Works, asked the council to approved a pay estimate to Metering Technology Solutions of $77,043.19. The water meter project is getting wrapped up. Burkholder explained that $908 was deducted from the pay estimate request for minor shortcomings made by the company during installation. The pay estimate with deductions was approved. There still is a retainage of $21,372.29.
• A payment of $5,025.11 was approved to Community Education for the 2016 summer ball program. The payment was requested by LuAnn Klevan, community education director, to make up the difference between the revenue brought in by registration fees and the cost of operating the 2016 program.
• Approval was given to advertise for a summer helper for summer maintenance work.
• Approval was given to start the process to add police officer candidates to the part-time officers pool. Chief Shane Fox reported that two of the part-time officers are leaving.
• Young reported that they are actively lobbying in St. Paul for Phase II funding for the Center for the Arts.
• Household Hazardous Waste Collection is scheduled for September 12, 4-7 p.m.