Fire board votes to auction off vehicles, limit board’s pay

Thursday, July 24, 2008 | 9:18 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — The Boone County Fire Protection District’s board meeting Thursday started about 45 minutes late because of a lengthy closed meeting beforehand. The public meeting itself was as brief as the delay was long.
No action was taken on Fire Chief Steve Paulsell’s salary at either meeting.
Board member Dave Griggs said he has completed the majority of his research regarding Paulsell’s pay, but the matter was “complex and detailed enough” that no conclusions were made. Griggs said the board would like to resolve the issue quickly.
Motions taken by the board included a vote to publicly auction off five of the fire district’s old vehicles. The board also voted to limit the board of directors’ pay to $75 per month for each member. The vote came after the board discovered they had been paid twice that amount this month.
Paulsell reported that Missouri Task Force 1, one of 28 FEMA-sponsored Urban Search and Rescue teams, was deployed to San Antonio on Monday. The task force was one of three FEMA-sponsored teams deployed before Hurricane Dolly’s landfall. It spent the week training because, as of Thursday, local authorities had not requested federal assistance, Paulsell said.
“They will probably be headed home in the morning,” Paulsell said.
The board plans to meet Friday at 9 a.m. to discuss fire district service inside the town of Centralia, which has raised public comment since the town does not pay fire district taxes.
“They don’t pay the tax, they don’t get to vote on tax increases and bond issues,” board member John Williamson said Monday. “Some of the folks say it’s not fair.”
Centralia’s fire department responds to its own fire calls, but the fire district responds to emergency medical calls within the city.
“The chief has come up with an estimate that maybe we spend $8,600 a year to provide medical calls inside Centralia,” Williamson said.
The board has also scheduled budget work sessions for Aug. 12 and 14 before the next regular board meeting Aug. 20, when the board is set to adopt the fire district’s 2009 budget.

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