ESD Board discusses conference, budget

By KATE LUDLOW

The Williamson County Emergency Services District #4 Commissioners met Tuesday to discuss a recent state conference, hear the Fire Chief’s monthly report, and discuss the way small purchases are made. Commissioner Sandra Taylor was not present at the meeting.

ESD Commissioners recently traveled to Galveston for the Safe-D Annual Conference for the Texas State Association of Fire and Emergency Districts. Board President Dean Andrews spoke of the various sessions attended, and the ideas they walked away with including tightening up the definition of what exactly an ESD must do.

“I think that there’s some things that we still must move forward in doing, but I felt pretty good. Out of the 18 or so things that they say you must do, we were on track with them,” he said. “We have written documentation to all of them, except the investment policy, I think, and we very well may have in some notes what we drafted.”

The Treasurer’s Report showed that while 92 percent of the budgeted revenue has been collected through the tax assessor’s office, 43 percent of that has already been spent.

According to Andrews, that would likely leave the department with an approximate $17,000 deficit for the fiscal year, as per information received from Interim Chief Mark McAdams. McAdams credited firefighters with bringing him new ideas to keep costs down.

“The guys have been really good with bringing me solutions and things to help,” he said.

McAdams thanked firefighters for their work during Monday night’s severe weather.  He reported that the  department ran eight storm related calls that evening, including a mutual aid with the Florence Fire Department and the Williamson County Swift Water Rescue Team. On that call, one unit and two firefighters assisted in rescuing a woman and three children from a car that had been swept away at a water crossing on the edge of Florence. McAdams said that he and Assistant Chief Chancey Bizzell had worked through the night and had gone “old school a little bit,” referring to their previous time doing shift work. McAdams also reported that fuel usage was down dramatically following a change in the way that the trucks are refueled.

McAdams announced that  Bizzel has been named Fire Marshall by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, a position previously held by Captain Mark Rosenbusch.

McAdams told The Independent that while Rosenbusch was doing “a fantastic job,” he wanted more consistency and availability for the customer.

“Rosenbusch is a shift worker, so he’s on one day and off two,” McAdams said. “We needed a consistency during business hours so that we could respond effectively, whether it’s an inspection or a code issue. Rosenbusch will continue to be a valuable part of that due to his experience and code knowledge.”

In other business, Commissioners approved the acquisition of debit cards, to be made available to members of the department for small purchases.

Andrews noted that the majority of the reimbursement checks were relatively small amounts for items such as tape and other repair items at various hardware stores.

“We should not be using your (McAdams) money to run this organization. That’s why with the safeguards that are in place…I have no problem with this,” Andrews said.

He noted that the firefighters wouldn’t keep the cards on them at all times, but would be checked out when those purchases needed to be made.