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3/22/2021 - Fire Commission - Ordinance

E X H I B I T  A

Chapter 13- Board of Fire Commission

§ 13-1  Preamble.
§ 13-2  Establishment.

§ 13-3  Membership; terms of office.
§ 13-4  Election of officers; records.

§ 13-5  Vacancies; removal of members.

§ 13-6  Duties.

§ 13-7  Fire Departments responsibilities.


§ 13-1  Preamble.

A. The Bethel Volunteer Fire Department Inc and the Stony Hill Volunteer Fire Company Inc (the “Fire Departments”) and their successors, if any, are hereby established as the two authoritative Fire Departments to provide fire, rescue, hazardous material, EMS services and associated ambulance services related to each of the Fire Departments in the Town of Bethel (the “Town”).  The existing Fire Departments and their successors, if any, shall continue as operating entities and shall function as constituent units of the Town for the services and associated services set forth above. 

B. The Town and its Fire Departments mutually recognize and agree that close coordination, mutual long-term planning, sound operational and financial management and full transparency are essential components to ensuring public safety. All parties recognize that the safety operations of the Town, the Fire Departments and its affiliates, the police department and the public safety dispatching systems require teamwork, transparency, and coordination between all parties. While recognizing that they are incorporated as independent agencies for operational purposes, the Fire Departments shall be an integral function of the Town’s government.

§ 13-2  Establishment.
There is hereby established a Board of Fire Commission (the “Commission”) for the Town which Commission shall have the powers and duties hereinafter set forth in this chapter.

§ 13-3 Membership; terms of office.
A. The Commission shall be comprised of five (5) voting members, all being electors of the Town with one (1) being a member of the Town Board of Selectmen and chosen by the Town Board of Selectmen and the remaining four (4) at large members being appointed by the Town Board of Selectmen.  

B. The five (5) voting members will be subject to the Minority Representation provisions of the Town Charter.

C. The Fire Departments will be represented on the Commission by the appointment of one ex-officio member for each of the individual Fire Departments. Ex-officio members shall serve only in an advisory capacity and shall not be entitled to vote on issues before the Commission.

D. Term:  
1) All members of the Fire Commission including ex-officio members shall be appointed within forty-five (45) days of the effective date of this chapter.
2) The Town Board of Selectmen representative shall serve until his/her term on the Town Board of Selectmen expires but in no event greater than four (4) years at which time the Town Board of Selectmen representative shall be subject to reappointment.
3) The four (4) remaining voting members of the Commission shall serve for a term of four (4) years with the initial terms staggered with one (1) expiring on the first Monday of December 2023; one (1) expiring on the first Monday of December 2024;  and the remaining two (2) shall expire on the first Monday of December 2025.  Thereafter all four (4) members shall be appointed for four (4) years.
4) The ex-officio members shall serve for a period not to exceed four (4) years at which time the Fire Departments representative shall be subject to reappointment. 

§ 13-4 Election of officers; records.
The Commission shall conduct an organizational meeting within a reasonable time after its creation and appointment of the five (5) voting members to elect from the voting members, excluding the Board of Selectmen member, a chairperson and such other officers as it deems necessary and shall establish a meeting schedule which shall be at least quarterly with such schedule being filed with the office of the Town Clerk and shall conduct such other meetings as are necessary at the call of the Chairman. The Commission shall keep an accurate record of the minutes of each meeting and shall have the responsibility of filing the same with the office of the Town Clerk pursuant to state law.

§ 13-5 Vacancies; removal of members.
The Town Board of Selectmen, in accordance with the Town Charter, shall fill all vacancies in the membership of said Commission, except that the Fire Departments shall fill any vacancies occurring in the membership of the ex officio members.  In addition, the Town Board of Selectmen may remove any member for cause.

§ 13-6 Duties.
The Commission will serve as an advisory board to the Town Board of Selectmen. The Commission will be responsible for reviewing and making recommendations on purchases, capital expenditures and operational funding for the Fire Departments and their associated service providers.  The duties and responsibilities of the Commission will be as follows:

A. Long-term capital budget planning with a future horizon of at least ten years, including, but not limited to building maintenance planning, future apparatus acquisitions and other capital equipment needs, including but not limited to communication equipment, turn-out gear, SCBA gear, hoses and any other equipment that meets the criteria to qualify as a capital purchase.

B. Annual operational budget planning with presentation to the Town Boards of Selectmen and Finance if requested.

C. Review of annual operational and capital budget requests and recommendations of the same to the Town Board of Selectmen.  In addition, the Commission chairperson shall have responsibility of presenting annual and special budget requests to the Town Boards of Selectmen and Finance.

D. Ensuring vehicle maintenance and repair records are retained according to law.

E. Ensuring assets of the Town are cataloged and reported accurately to the Town Finance Department.

F. The Commission shall also at the request of the Town Board of Selectmen undertake such other duties as prescribed by Town Board of Selectmen concerning the Fire Departments.

§ 13-7 Fire Departments responsibilities. 
In conjunction with the Commission’s duties, the Fire Departments to be eligible to receive public funding from the Town, will provide the following: 

A. Submit monthly expense reports to the Town Finance Department. The Town Finance Department in turn will provide quarterly expense reports to the Commission. 
B. Submit quarterly status reports of vehicle maintenance and repairs to the Commission.  

C. Submit all financial records as requested by the Town Finance Department related to the Town’s Comprehensive Annual Finance Report, including but not limited to all records for fire and emergency services.

D. Submit an annual report to the Commission to include a summary of all call volumes and types of calls;  budget, accounting expense overview and reimbursements in regards to Town funds; membership summary; immediate future goals, long term goals; and any other information requested by the Commission to aid the Commission in fulfilling its duties.