Three Towns’ MAS Meeting: Doty, Mountain & Riverview
March 16, 2016
Town of Riverview Town Hall
Present: Town of Doty—Kendal Dryja, & Gaie; Town of Mountain—Hull & Ustianowski; Town of Riverview—Hogan & Rzepka. Others: Commissioners Dehne & Wanner, TJ Schrank, RVFD; Schultz—MAS; & Harkema, CAS.
The meeting called to order approximately 6:00 p.m. by Ann Hogan, Chairperson.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss a letter that was sent out on Feb. 1, 2016 by FOMAS Several Town Board members of the three towns had some legitimate and significant concerns which includes the following points.
The FOMAS letter contains inaccuracies that are misleading and confusing. The following concerns were discussed:
• The FOMAS letter of Feb. 1 asks for help to raise money for “a large project.” The “project” is a building addition (12’ x 30’) and would cost $40,000. The letter states that FOMAS would use the dollars raised “to have an addition built onto the current station…” The implication is that if the money were raised, FOMAS would proceed with the building addition, however, FOMAS doesn’t make determinations related to building expansions or new construction.
• The letter states that “Mountain Ambulance Service has met with the Towns and was denied any funding for the addition due to budgetary shortfalls…” No proposal for a building addition was ever brought before any of the three-towns.
• Since no meeting was held to discuss the conceptual ideas behind such an addition, it is also then true that no specifics were provided relative to building addition size, utilities, intentions, purposes, etc. While conceptual ideas may have been bandied about near the ‘water cooler’ or across the desk during informal conversations over the past several months, nothing specific was presented to area town officials for action.
• Being that FOMAS is a 501(c) organization, the letter says nothing about what would happen with dollars donated for this specific building addition project should the project not go forward. It is important to have people clearly understand the intentions and expectations for project management purposes.
• Any correspondence advocating fund-raising for a project of this magnitude should have a signature of the official to be contacted should a person(s) have questions. There was no such signature in the Feb. 1 letter sent by FOMAS.
• The February 1 letter from FOMAS is ill-timed. The ‘five-town administrative committee’ (Townsend, Lakewood, Riverview, Mountain and Doty) is currently involved in discussions with a consultant to consider new ideas for delivering emergency response services to this area in light of the challenges facing all of us as we consider shrinking budgets and additional strain on how to apportion dollars. Many Town officials believe the FOMAS Feb. 1 letter should not have been released until the findings of the consultant have been presented to and discussed by the Town Boards. It is at that time that MAS could then determine whether a building addition to the current structure is even appropriate going forward.
While no formal actions were taken, those town board members seated around the table agreed that:
1. The MAS Commissioners who help advise and shape decision-making for MAS are appointed by and report to the respective Town Boards to keep the communication channels open for discussion, dialogue and effective leadership.
2. FOMAS should be wanting to have harmony with all the players involved in making MAS an effective response unit for the three towns. Our continued success in dealing with the people we serve and the response to emergencies provided by MAS is dependent on trust and integrity.
3. Discussion regarding building expansion of the MAS facility will be held after the report of the Consultant is received and 3-Towns review and determine next steps.
What should/will be done with the funds generated in response to the Feb. 1 FOMAS letter is not something the 3-Town Boards decide, but rather an issue for FOMAS to consider.
Meeting adjourned approximately 7:30 p.m.