BERLIN – Berlin Fire Company leaders provided town officials with a quarterly update this week.
Berlin Fire Company (BFC) representatives presented the Berlin Town Council with a report for the third quarter of the current fiscal year at Monday’s regular council meeting.
David Fitzgerald, president of the BFC, reported 59% of the EMS calls the organization responded to were in town while 44% of the fire calls responded to were in Berlin.
The BFC’s average EMS response time is 1.34 minutes while its fire response time is slightly over three minutes.
Fitzgerald reported that expenses were up slightly, as an HVAC unit had failed and had to be replaced and other pieces of equipment had needed repairs. He said that training and volunteer incentive costs were also slightly higher than expected, but said he didn’t consider that a bad thing.
“It shows that our members want to go to training,” he said.
Professional fees related to EMS have also been more than anticipated, as the BFC has created a new corporation for EMS.
“Our legal counsel and our accountant continue to work on finishing up and following up as they need to do with the IRS to make sure we’re 501c3,” Fitzgerald said. “Those things continue to exceed the budget because we just didn’t have a good number with that. Both of our agencies are very generous to us — both local — the attorney and accountant provide donated services when they can. We’re very appreciative of that.”
Councilman Zack Tyndall asked if the BFC had an agreement ready for fiscal year 2020, as the current contract between the organization and the town was only for fiscal year 2019. Fitzgerald said a proposed agreement was being updated by the BFC’s attorney.
“We certainly need the opinion of the mayor and council,” Fitzgerald said.
Tyndall said he thought the timing of the town’s quarterly payments — which are scheduled to come after quarterly reports — should be adjusted, as the most recent payment had been required a few weeks early to ensure there was adequate cash flow for EMS.
Mayor Gee Williams suggested BFC officials also make a recommendation as to what they thought would work best.
“We’re all going to learn as we go here,” he said. “If there’s some tweaking we can do to make all this less onerous, but at the same time predictable, then I think we can get it all resolved.”