It was a busy, productive meeting for directors of the Herald Fire Protection District on Nov. 15. The board approved a budget for office renovations, set a new stipend schedule, and authorized the fire chief to solicit bids for a new command vehicle and fire engine among other monthly business.

Vice Chair Lindsey Liebig directed the meeting; Chairman Don Siegalkoff did not attend due to illness.

In an effort for both fire stations (87 and 88) to have similar equipment, directors approved 4-0 to authorize Fire Chief James Hendricks to solicit bids for both a fire engine and an additional command vehicle.

For the fire truck, Hendricks wants a small lightweight structure engine that also has the ability to “pump and roll”.

“This will allow us to take the larger 1,200-gallon-per-minute structure engines and place them at each station and then have one of those 1,000-gallon-a-minute structure engines behind it so it can do both, so station equipment will mirror each other,” Hendricks said.

When asked by Director Dennis Johnson whether they were looking for a new or used vehicle, Hendricks said they missed the opportunity to bid on a similar engine from neighboring Wilton Fire Protection District.

District officials will look into costs of a new engine before making any final decisions.

For the command vehicle, Hendricks and Apparatus Committee members will decide whether of not they need a 3/4-ton or 1/2-ton pickup. According to Hendricks, he prefers a pickup over a SUV-type command vehicle because it is more universal, especially when needing to transport dirty hoses and other equipment from fire scenes.

Liebig explained the process to acquire the new vehicles.

“The process would be to get bids, get specs to take back to the Apparatus Committee, then they’ll take it to the board to approve,” she said.

Business Manager Andrea Adams asked the board to approve funds for office renovations at Station 87.

“We’re thinking about updating the office a little,” Adams said. “Maybe some paint, drywall, carpet, giving it a more professional appearance.”

Adams said they have been seeking quotes on some of the work they’d like done but needed to know how much the directors would like to spend on improvements.

Liebig explained that the Budget Committee had met on the subject and talked about doing the renovations in two phases, doing the initial phase now and an additional phase in the spring. She proposed authorizing $15,000 be spent on phase one.

“The bulk of this would be able to cover the initial tear-down, the paint and then office furniture for that office,” Liebig said.

Liebig went on to say that potential phase two projects include renovating the chief’s office and windows for the entire station.

“This initial $15,000, we have it in the budget and it will cover the initial big change,” Liebig said, adding that there were no current grants available for office improvements.

Adams also said they were looking into improving the lighting, possibly with LED lighting.

Directors approved authorizing $15,000 on office improvements 4-0.

In an effort to have more firefighters with Class B licenses that include air brake and tank endorsements, directors approved a one-time $200 incentive for obtaining the license; this will be in addition to the $25 a month stipend offered to those with a valid Class B.

“This will further incentivize those who don’t have it,” Hendricks said. “It’s expensive to go to the doctor to get that stuff. We want to make sure that those guys who couldn’t necessarily afford it just yet, but who want to do it, now have the ability to go to their physician based on whatever their co-pay is.”

The stipend would work similar to a reimbursement; they will receive the stipend after obtaining the license.

During the chief’s report, Hendricks informed directors that the district was staffed 24-hours for 27 out of the 31 days in October and had an impressive 5.5 minute average response time.

In other actions, directors approved an administrative employee handbook, approved a battalion chief job description and new chain of command, and approved a letter to LAFCo which included a district update.