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2003/08/13 Minutes
Sebago Fire Station Committee
Minutes of Meeting
August 13, 2003

Committee Charge:

In considering Warrant Article 65 at the June 7, 2003 Town Meeting the Town voted to “form a committee comprised of the Fire Chief, 1 Fire Fighter, 1 Budget Committee Member, 1 Selectperson, 1 citizen at large and the Town Manager to study the need and location for a new fire station or addition and report back at the next annual town meeting in a form to be voted on at that time.”

Committee Members:

The Board of Selectmen subsequently appointed the following as members of the Fire Station Committee:

·       Fire Chief – Chief Ken Littlefield
·       Fire Fighter – Ed Fitzgerald
·       Budget Committee – David McCarthy
·       Selectman – David Hague
·       Citizen at large – Maurice Davies
·       Town Manager – Rosemary Kulow

Minutes of First Meeting

The first meeting of the Fire Station Committee was conveyed at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, August 13, 2003 at the Town Offices, with these members in attendance:
Committee members Ken Littlefield, David McCarthy, David Hague, and Maurice Davies.  Absent were committee members Rosemary Kulow and Ed Fitzgerald.  Non-members present were Bob Irish Jr and Allen Crabtree.

The first meeting was devoted to discussing the overall direction that the committee felt was appropriate in carrying out its charge.  Before making recommendations on specific fire stations, the committee felt that there was a need to take a comprehensive approach to understand the fire protection needs of the Town of Sebago now and in the future.  

David McCarthy felt that the Committee needs to define the Town’s fire safety needs before making specific recommendations.  Maurice Davies suggested that there was a need to identify both the immediate and long-term needs for fire stations.  Bob Irish suggested that it would be important to look at the longer-term needs and town growth.  Maurice Davies thought that a look at building permits would give an idea about the patterns and rates of growth in the town.  David McCarthy recommended that the Committee look at a town larger than Sebago for examples of how they have dealt with their fire safety needs, and suggested perhaps Raymond would be a good candidate.

In carrying out their charge, the committee will look at these elements:

1.      What are the Fire Department’s equipment needs?

a.      What engines and tankers does the Department have now, and what are their roles?  

Ken Littlefield will prepare an inventory for the committee.  Maurice Davies suggested that a public display of all the fire equipment would be important at some point to let people know what the Department has.  

b.      What are the Department’s plans for future equipment, and what is the time frame for acquiring new equipment and retiring old equipment?  

Much of this is available from annual reports, the Capital Investment Program, and the Reserve Accounts. It will be gathered together for the next meeting.

c.      What role does mutual aid play in determining the equipment needs of the Sebago Fire Department?  Are there any overlaps of equipment?

Ken Littlefield will distribute the mutual aid agreement and call-out protocols for surrounding towns

d.      An independent audit of the equipment needs of the Sebago FD based on other the departments of other towns of similar size and area would be helpful as a basis of comparison.  

Ken Littlefield will check at the Cumberland – Oxford County Chiefs meeting if the Maine Fire Chiefs Association can provide this audit.  It was pointed out that no funds were appropriated for the Fire Station committee’s work (vs. a $5,000 appropriation when a similar committee was formed in 1999).

2.      Fire Insurance Costs and requirements for Sebago Homeowners

The Committee discussed concerns raised by several homeowners about their ISO insurance rating, and how the location of fire stations, type of fire equipment (hydrants, etc) can affect the ratings.  David McCarthy will contact several insurance carriers to get information on how the ratings are assigned, and will bring this information back next time.  The Committee felt that it was important to get a better handle on this issue, to see if it is a major concern and potential pocket-book issue for taxpayers, or not.

3.      Sebago Growth and Development Patterns

Where has the town been growing, and where will future developments likely take place?  These will have a great deal of influence on where the fire stations of the future should be located, and will help determine if the current stations should be upgraded (if that is possible) or replaced by a new combined structure(s).  Allen Crabtree offered to provide an analysis of the fire calls for the last two years showing where calls have come in and the type of calls received.  The number of building permits issued over the last couple of years will also provide useful information.  Response times and road networks are also factors.  Maurice Davies will make copies of his maps available to the Committee.

4.      Fire Station Needs

The Committee will consider the immediate needs of the existing three fire stations for maintenance and modifications.  The Selectmen have toured the stations and are discussing maintenance programs for them.  The Committee, however, will consider the needs for additions and modifications.  The need for water and bathroom facilities at Station 1 was briefly discussed.  Allen Crabtree will make copies of the deeds for Stations 2 and 3 available to the Committee.

The Committee will also consider the long-term needs of the Town for fire stations, including size and location, based on the size and nature of the future Fire Department equipment and the population needs of the town.  Longer-term was defined as a 10-year period.

David Hague suggested that a folder be prepared on each of the stations as a reference tool to be used by the Committee.

5.      Land and Ownership Patterns

Available land parcels, size and location were considered when the Rescue station committee met.  These would be reviewed at the appropriate time in the search for a new station location.    

Housekeeping Items

Meetings will be held on Wednesday evenings, unless that is inconvenient for any of the members.  There was discussion on the frequency of meetings, and David Hague felt that meeting only once a month would not allow all the items on the above list to be addressed in time.  The once-a-month schedule will be reconsidered later.  There was general agreement that a public information meeting should also be held sometime before Town Meeting to gather input.  This meeting might be held in the January-February time frame.

The next meeting is scheduled for September 10, 2003 at 7:00 p.m.  If assignments are completed before then, they should be shared with the other Committee members.  We will ask Rosemary to set up a mailbox for Committee members at the Town Offices, and also mail material to the members.  E-mail will be used for communications whenever possible.

Meetings will be held to 1 ½ hours whenever possible.

A Chair of the Committee will be selected at the next meeting.  Allen Crabtree offered to take minutes for the Committee.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:20 p.m.