Billing for fire calls was approved by the Manawa Fire Board at its March 16 meeting.
The billing will be handled by LifeQuest, which also handles the billing for the Manawa Ambulance Service.
Fire Chief Rob Rosenau requested that the board provide direction on what services to include. LifeQuest also needs this information, according to Ambulance Director Andy Werth.
Some board members were reluctant to bill for such things as providing a landing zone on what was probably a “very bad day” for someone.
John Smith, alternate for the city of Manawa, said he has needed emergency services in the past.
“If you’re truly thankful with what these people do, you won’t complain about paying for it,” Smith said.
“The discussion of whether or not we should do this is over – we need to charge for fire calls,” he said.
“Let’s not discuss whether we need to do it, and get this going,” Board President Mary Eck said. “We need to be as simple as possible (with the billing).”
The board agreed to allow no charge for the first two false alarms called in from a property. They also do not want to charge by number of trucks and firefighters that respond to a scene.
The board agreed to allow the Manawa Rural Fire Department to bill for the following items, retroactive to Jan. 1, 2015: Structure fire – $500; non DNR grass fire (city) – $500; vehicle accident – $250 resident and $500 nonresident; vehicle (licensed and non-licensed) fire – $250 resident and $500 nonresident; extraction – $250 resident and $500 nonresident; landing zone – $75 resident and $150 nonresident; lift assist – $50; carbon monoxide alarm – $50; false alarm – $100 after two per calendar year.
New truck financing
The board discussed options for financing the new fire truck.
A borrowing referendum was approved, pending approval from the town of Lebanon.
“We need to be clear that the new fire truck and the loan will not raise assessments,” said Eck. “The payments will be taken out of the truck replacement fund.”
Rosenau reported there have been 31 calls since the fiscal year started on Nov. 1, 2014. Last year, this number was reached on June 18.
Rosenau read a letter complimenting the MRFD firefighters for establishing a “great” helicopter landing zone for an accident victim.
“Considering we were canceled (for the call), it’s nice to know we were needed,” he said.
Response times currently average 11.25 minutes for all calls, including mutual aid calls outside the fire district.
The board announced that its clerk, Colleen McCoy, has resigned due to being hired for a full-time position.
Board member and previous clerk Jackie Beyer will fill in until the position is filled.
The board agreed to advertise for a board clerk and to revise the posting to state “municipal clerk experience preferred,” and no longer list it as a requirement.
The board will consider eligible candidates at its April 21 meeting.
Beyer suggested that the alternate from the town of Little Wolf be asked to attend the Fire Board meetings for voting purposes while she covers the clerk duties.
“We need to be as transparent as possible,” she said.
In other business, the board agreed to schedule an audit of the books for late spring or early summer.