BoS Special Meeting Minutes-April 8, 2017

Saturday, April 8, 2017

The duly advertised Lancaster Township Board of Supervisors special meeting was held on Saturday, April 8, 2017 in the township building at 1240 Maple Avenue, Lancaster, PA. The meeting was called to order at 9:02am by Chair Kathy Wasong. Vice Chair Benjamin H. Bamford, and Treasurer Thomas H. Schaller were also present. Others in attendance included Lancaster Township Fire Department Board members, and interested parties. Ms. Wasong led those assembled in the Pledge of Allegiance.
A.        Special meeting between the Lancaster Township Board of Supervisors and
the Lancaster Township Fire Department Board.
·       Kathy Wasong opened the floor.
·       Ron Comfort Jr. indicated the fire department requested this meeting.
·       Ben Bamford said we are working hand in hand to move forward with this agreement  which gives us both a responsibility and also provides for some things that we all need, and what the taxpayers of the township needs. That is, a fully funded fire department, and a fire department that has the equipment it needs to fight the fires and stay safe.
·       Tom Schaller said we want a volunteer fire department around for at least 110 years.
·       Ron Comfort Jr. indicated we are trying our best. Volunteers are tough to keep.
·       Mike Pickard said the fire department had some really excellent heart to heart discussions.
·       Tom Schaller said I think it would behoove all of us, that we start here and go in that direction. I really think this is a good first step.
·       Ron Comfort Jr. said we understand the responsibility of the township, and we have a responsibility to the township also to conserve and watch the money we spend. The biggest thing is to have the best equipment to protect our people and our public.
·       Steve Roy said we had a difficult year last year, but are on a good upswing now.
·       Kathy Wasong said the township wants to make sure you have resources, equipment, and the funding you need, that you’re not out standing with a boot on the street corner trying to beg for money to run into a burning building. Once you have the contract in place, you will have a set target of what your funding is going to be, and you’ll know how much is going to go into the capital reserve, and that frees you up to do all sorts of other stuff.
·       Steve Roy said I think the contract is excellent in the right direction.
·       Ben Bamford said I am going to do everything I need to make sure you are absolutely safe and you can do what you need to do.
·       Mike Pickard indicated that Ronnie and Ben and I (Mike P.) changed some things in this contract. It’s a very rough draft.
·       Ben Bamford indicated that this, to me, is more of a performance agreement. This says you are going to do something for us and we are going to do something for you.
·       Mike Pickard agreed, we’re going to provide some service and you are going to provide some funding. I think we are well covered on the operations side, and again, I’m speaking for myself, I can’t speak for the fire department board, because the board has taken no action, I just want to make sure the minutes reflect I am not speaking for the fire department. I think we can take a portion of this and put it aside for some future equipment funding, maybe some building funds, something of that nature. The fire department fully believes, and feels to the best of my knowledge, we do need a ladder truck in the township.
·       Tom Schaller agreed—a ladder truck; we need it. There is no two ways about that. In my book, the supervisors are responsible for buying something that can get to 75 feet and not have to worry about or depend on somebody else getting out and getting there.
·       Mike Pickard said assuming that there is an agreement among the supervisors, and an agreement among the fire department, we are going to replace the ladder truck whether it is new or used, that’s down the road, but if we are going to go that direction, we need to start doing capital fund drives now, not the year we need to replace the ladder truck. We would be better off buying new if we can, but I don’t think we are going to get the money, so it’s no different when you buy a used car.
·       Ron Comfort Jr. said we could probably find something late model.
·       Kathy Wasong asked why would you buy a used one?
·       Ron Comfort Jr. replied we may not have a choice. Willow Street fire department just bought a beautiful ladder truck, late model, used, from a fire department that wasn’t using it anymore. They spent like $700,000. It wasn’t brand new, but will last at least 10 to 20 years.
·       Mike Pickard said the original contract said something about if we do any solicitation. What I would like to change it to is…” in return for the funding as set forth above, Lancaster Township Fire Department agrees that it shall not conduct and is prohibited from conducting all fund raising activities within the borders of the township with the exception of raising monies for capital campaigns.” Also, let’s not put it in writing in the contract that we have to put in that we are fully funded by you folks. The solicitation should be jointly approved by the township and the fire department, meaning we can look at those, and say, that looks good. I think we can work out the language, but I think you understand what I’m saying about it.
·       Tom Schaller said in his mind the new building and ladder truck are the only two things we really need on capital campaign.
·       Mike Pickard said I can see a capital fund drive where we have a chart that shows what the fire department has in reserves for a capital project. You know, we have over a million dollars in the bank for a building. I think we should disclose that. And we show what the township is contributing, and here is where you come in, Mr. Smith, we need your help. He also stated that the public works department has been extremely valuable to the fire department. They have been extremely cooperative and very friendly, very hands on, and have done a lot of projects for us. They have done a lot of great things for the fire department. I hope that can continue.
·       Ron Comfort Jr. thanked the supervisors for their time on Saturday, and hopes we can move forward and work together as a team to make the township safe.
·       Mike Pickard said as an update on our financials, I think we are probably going to be ready in the beginning of May to do our bills and all that. We have a woman who is going to step up and help us with our treasury work.
·       Ron Comfort Sr. asked if he should go back to calling Mr. Daniels and tell him I have a function and let him know where it is?
·       Ben Bamford indicated the purpose of that was so that the township can become additional insured when you go and do something like that. So, you would want to tell us what you are doing.
·       Kathy Wasong asked about buying equipment that is not going to fit into the existing buildings.
·       Ron Comfort Jr. said to cut down a piece of apparatus to fit into the station is not a very good thing to do. The problem is the buildings are 1940 era buildings that need to be updated. He also indicated there are two engines on the market right now and it’s slow moving.
·       Ben Bamford said we need to get a check from relief to buy the new one. We need it by the 20th.
·       Mike Pickard mentioned there is water pouring into our ceiling in that north station.
·       Ron Comfort Jr. said the buildings are old.
·       Ben Bamford said we need to figure out how to build a new building. If we solved the new building issue, figure out how to fund that without accounting for the other two, then we take the funds for the other two buildings and put that towards the new ladder truck.
·       Ron Comfort Jr. said the cost for operational will go down from having two stations.
·       Tom Schaller asked what kind of timeline you are looking at for this agreement.
·       Mike Pickard said I don’t know. I have to ask Greg.
·       Ron Comfort Jr. reiterated we appreciate your taking the time to set this special meeting.
·       Ben Bamford said I want to get this (agreement) done and I am available and ready to work at any point in time. It is difficult to read now with all the changes. We will start with a clean copy.
·       Mike Pickard pointed out that Section 10 is missing because we eliminated it. Ten was the fire services committee which we are eliminating because we think we should have an emergency services committee.
·       Ben Bamford: We have to disband the one and do the other. I think what we need to do is get it (the agreement) to the point where we agree. Have your meetings, do your thing, we’ll get together. We don’t need to have the attorney’s look at it, we just need to agree on the guts of it, and then we get it out to them.
·       Kathy Wasong said the board won’t vote on it until we have a final copy that you guys can sign, and would prefer to have you folks at the meeting and we all sign it together.
·       Ben Bamford apologized for the early one that had really bad English in it.
·       Mike Pickard went on record saying the first one did not come from your attorney Matt Crème.
·       Kathy Wasong offered her services as a professional editor to look at the final copy.
·       Tom Schaller reminded the fire department to find out about this relief check.
There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned at 10:20am.

Respectfully submitted,
William M. Laudien, Secretary