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Home Fire District Moderator's Corner

Seasons Greetings from the WFD Executive Committee

December 2014
We want to update you on several important actions taken by the WFD since the end of the summer season.
1. We organized ourselves into four subcommittees to focus our efforts and better manage several key initiatives. The subcommittees are:
Finance - Chaired by Dan Richards and Jim Maynard
Infrastructure - Chaired by Tom Dwyer and Howard Hyde
Weekapaug Community - Chaired by Amy Carvell and Sue Lester
Safety and Security - Chaired by Wes Sparks and Scott Wakeman
Each of these subcommittees has reviewed current operating procedures, costs of operations and future capital needs. Additionally, Amy and Sue have been exploring ways to bring our community together for social events and to support specific community initiatives and policies. All other members of the Executive Committee participate on one or more of the subcommittees so we cover a wide range of views. Subcommittee recommendations are being reviewed by the full Committee and will be discussed with you in greater detail at the Annual Meeting in July 2015.
2. The WFD has renewed its contract for Fire Services with the Misquamicut FD. The term was extended for four years at the existing price. Thanks to WFD's Attorney, Deming Sherman, Wes Sparks and Scott Wakeman for managing this very successful outcome for us.
3. The State of RI passed a law this summer requiring that the State's Fire Districts submit approved annual budgets, certify their tax base and report financial results to the State on both a quarterly and annual basis. The level of financial detail needed in this disclosure is based on, among other things, the size of an individual Fire Districts’ annual budget, number of full time employees and amount of outstanding debt. Based on those criteria, the WFD is required to submit an approved annual budget, an approved and certified statement describing the tax base and unaudited quarterly and annual statements setting forth our revenues, expenses and reserve balance for the period. For larger Fire Districts audited statements are required. We have now successfully completed two such quarterly submissions to the State. To simplify and facilitate our financial reporting, we have been evaluating a change from our current fiscal year of May 1 through April 30 to a calendar year basis. This change will simplify our reporting and better align the timing of our revenues and expenses. We will provide more detail on the fiscal year change at the Annual Meeting. Thanks to Jeanne McAndrew and Dan Richards who have expertly managed this process for WFD.
4. Our Infrastructure Subcommittee has been very busy working with the Weekapaug Foundation for Conservation on the Innlet project. Our sincere thanks to Gina Breakstone, Michael Sands, Geren Fauth, Susan DiLoreto and Hank White for their hard work and dedication to this project. Communication between the WFC and the WFD has been excellent from the very start of this project. Based on the changes to the Innlet, Tom Dwyer and Howard Hyde have developed a plan to reconfigure the front porch of the WFD building to conform to new parking surface levels. We also plan to replace the large bay windows with safety glass and any necessary trim, budget permitting. Howard and Tom have spent countless hours on these efforts to date which is greatly appreciated.
5. Howard Hyde, Tom Dwyer and Frank Kinney have studied carefully options related to preserving WFD owned roads. As many of you know, the Fire District owns and maintains most of the roads north of Knowles while the Town of Westerly owns and maintains those roads to the south of Knowles. The WFD owned roads will require maintenance over the next few years. If the roads are not maintained they will continue to deteriorate, creating dangerous conditions for pedestrians, bicyclists and automobiles. We have begun discussions with local vendors and are seeking bids to resurface these roads. We plan to present the cost for this work and options to pay for it at the Annual Meeting. Rest assured we have no plans to rebuild, replace or turn our roads into speedways. All we plan to do is preserve the asset we have today. If we don't take action now, it will cost the community significantly more in the future. In the meantime, we will continue to work with the Town of Westerly on a maintenance plan for their roads. Tom and Howard also have begun work on a long term capital budget for WFD so we can manage prudently our spending requirements. Dan Richards is incorporating necessary capital improvements into a long range budget plan. We will share this plan with you at the Annual Meeting.
6. If you have driven around Weekapaug this fall, you will note that the level of home construction remains high. We ask that you keep in mind a few simple rules as you consider and execute these important projects:
--please give notice of these projects to the WFD in a timely fashion and pay the required deposit of $1000
--the deposit will be held by the Fire District and returned to the homeowner when construction is complete assuming any damage to the adjacent road is repaired. If roads are not restored to their pre-construction condition, the deposit will be used to fix the roads and the homeowner will be billed for any difference in cost
--please try to schedule the majority of the heavy work in the off season, be aware of noise restrictions and keep the building site safe and neat. We receive many complaints regarding construction in Weekapaug; all we ask is that you be good neighbors when undertaking these projects
--finally, the WFD passed a community rule this fall prohibiting contractors from bringing dogs to the worksite in Weekapaug. We had several incidents involving contractor dogs and would very much appreciate it if each property owner takes responsibility to enforce this rule.
We are all very thankful for your support and cooperation. The Executive Committee is available to discuss any concern you may have. Please feel free to call the Moderator, Frank Kinney at 203.517.7544, or any member of the Executive Committee listed below.
Our very best wishes to you and your family for a Happy Holiday Season.
The WFD Executive Committee,
Frank Kinney, Moderator
Tom Dwyer, Deputy Moderator
Amy Carvell
Gale Hunt
Howard Hyde
Sue Lester
Carol Lovell
Susie Mackay
Jim Maynard
Emily Mugge
Dan Richards
Peter Seidenberg
Wes Sparks
Scott Wakeman

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