FSRC: Local Government – West Mayfield Borough

Borough of West Mayfield

Fire Service Review Committee

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

On June 19, 2024, FSRC held a public meeting with borough officials to field questions regarding the role of local government in fire prevention and fire protection matters. Although every borough official was invited to this meeting, the following attended to assist and cooperate with the committee: 

  • Mayor Licia Cogley
  • Councilmembers President Bob Tate, Janet Helbig, Jacob Tate, Jeff Seybert
  • Zoning Officer Tina Lampus
  • Tax Collector Kathy Brewer

There was a total of 17 in attendance.    

Summary of FSRC Local Government Meeting

Borough Ordinances

Does council have any comprehensive plan to update and recodify borough ordinances, especially those related to public safety? If so, what would be the timeline? 

Findings:  Currently, council does not have a comprehensive plan or timeline to recodify borough ordinances. 


Would the Ordinance Committee manage a recodification project?

Findings: The Ordinance Committee seems to be the appropriate body to manage recodification. Many others would have to be involved as well.   


What recommended changes or amendments to the public safety ordinances would be favored by the Fire & Police Committee? 

Findings: No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to answer this specific question.    


What recommended changes or amendments to the public safety ordinances would be favored by other council members, other committees, and other borough officials such as the Emergency Management Coordinator, Code Enforcement team, Fire Chief?  

Findings: Neither the Emergency Management Coordinator (Bill Heaton, also a sitting member of the Fire & Police Committee) nor the WMVFD Fire Chief (Lou Little, also the chair of the Fire & Police Committee) was present at the meeting to answer this specific question. Those present were unsure of what specific changes or amendments are needed, but all agreed that the borough’s ordinances do need to be updated, especially those concerning public safety.   


Fire Service Agreement

Does any borough official or officer of the fire service know of and have access to a written service agreement between the Borough of West Mayfield and the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department? 

Findings: No officer of the fire service was present at the meeting to answer this specific question. No official present was aware of any written service agreement between the Borough of West Mayfield and the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department. 

As per a public records request, the Office of Borough Secretary/Treasurer has no documentation establishing or defining the current relationship between the Borough of West Mayfield and the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department.

Secretary-Treasurer Pat Lansberry stated, “As to any information that I have on the fire department, I am afraid that the only thing I have on record is what is found in our codified ordinances.  Unfortunately when I took over the position of secretary from Mr. Joseph Orosz, I didn’t receive all of the records that I should have.  I was given a filing cabinet with records and some old minutes books and that is all that I received.  Some of the records that I had, I stored in the loft above the garage.  At some point, Tommy Orosz, without authorization from anyone on council, decided to burn everything that was in the loft so any of my records that were in the loft were destroyed.” (Source: FSRC email correspondence, March 13, 2024) 


If currently no written fire service agreement exists defining the legal terms, conditions, operational duties, and financial obligations of the working relationship between the municipality and the WMVFD, would the Solicitor recommend the drafting of such a contract?     

Findings: The Solicitor was not present at the meeting to answer this specific question.


Mutual Aid Agreements

Has council vetted (read, reviewed, and approved) any specific mutual aid agreements created by or entered into by WMVFD and other municipal fire services?  

Findings: No official present has ever read, reviewed, and approved any specific mutual aid agreements created by or entered into by WMVFD and other municipal fire services.  


Are the Fire and Police and Finance & Litigation Committees aware of any such agreements? 

Findings: No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to answer this specific question. The chair of the Finance & Litigation Committee (Jason Heaton) and member Lou Little were not present at the meeting to answer this specific question. Committee member Janet Helbig stated that she was not aware of any mutual aid agreements coming before the committee.     


Is the Solicitor aware of any such mutual aid agreements? If so, are these agreements legal and proper?  

Findings: The Solicitor was not present at the meeting to answer this specific question.


Real Estate

Regarding borough owned property plot #57 (PARID: 520020116000) currently used as WMVFD’s rear parking lot, is there a lease agreement between the borough and the WMVFD? 

Findings: No official present at the meeting had ever read, reviewed, and approved any lease agreement regarding this parcel of land.

At the time of this meeting, the FSRC had not yet made a public records request for this document. (Update: On June 22, 2024, a public records request was initiated.)


Fire Prevention Code

Has council taken any legislative action regarding the 2022 fire department and ISO insurance inspection recommendation to adopt an international fire code? 

Findings: No official present at the meeting was aware of any action taken regarding the 2022 recommendation to adopt an international fire code.


Does the Fire & Police Committee work with the fire service provider to regularly review and update if necessary the borough’s Fire Prevention Code?  

Findings: No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to answer this specific question. No official present had any knowledge of such reviews, but it was generally agreed that these reviews should be conducted on a regular basis. 


Currently, what fire prevention code is used by the borough’s code enforcement team?

Findings: The borough’s code and zoning enforcement team relies upon the UCC, borough ordinances, the Pa Borough Code (C.S. Title 8), and other applicable state statutes and regulations as related to fire prevention. Zoning Enforcement Officer Tina Lampus informed the committee that Borough Ordinance Chapter 1604 designates the American Insurance Association Fire Prevention Code (1970).    


ISO Public Protection Classification 

Does the borough require from the WMVFD or the insurance organization (Verisk) a current, complete, and unabridged copy of the ISO PPC report? 

Findings: Council does not request to receive a true copy of the ISO PPC report provided to the WMVFD. No official present had ever seen this report. No one present recalled hearing a summary report of the ISO audit from the Fire & Police Committee (see March, April, October 2022 council meeting minutes).   


Has the Fire & Police Committee ever reviewed and evaluated the ISO PPC report, communicated these findings to council, and offered corrective action plans to improve upon the report’s shortcomings and weaknesses? 

Findings: No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to answer this specific question. No official present recalls any discussion about a corrective action plan to improve upon the ISO report’s shortcomings and weaknesses. 


Municipal Leadership, Authority, Oversight Duties

Council’s Fire & Police Committee

Is there a formal, written committee description that defines mission and scope, powers, duties, and obligations of the Fire & Police Committee? 

Findings: Council does not have a written committee description that defines mission and scope, powers, duties, and obligations of the Fire & Police Committee. No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to comment on this question.


What are the qualifications of council members serving on the Fire & Police Committee, especially the chair? 

Findings: Council does not have any stated qualifications for anyone serving on the Fire & Police Committee. No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to comment on this question.


What are the specific duties and responsibilities of the Fire & Police Committee chair? 

Findings: Council does not have any defined specific duties and responsibilities of the Fire & Police Committee chair? No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to comment on this question.


Is it permissible for citizen representatives to serve on the Fire & Police Committee? 

Findings: No official present opposed the idea of citizen representatives serving on the Fire & Police Committee. However, the Solicitor would have to provide legal counsel as to permissibility. No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to comment on this question.


Professional Reports & Confirmation of Public Safety Readiness

Does council have a written policy that sets forth requirements and expectations for monthly Fire & Police Committee reports? 

Findings: Council does not have any written policy regarding requirements and expectations for monthly Fire & Police Committee reports. No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to comment on this question.


Beyond the ordinance requirement for a mandatory annual report of the Volunteer Fire Department to council, does council have a written policy that sets forth requirements and expectations for the annual fire department report?  

Findings: Council does not have any written policy regarding requirements and expectations for annual fire department reports. No officer of the fire service was present at the meeting to comment on this question.


Does council have a written policy that sets forth requirements and expectations for monthly and annual Emergency Management reports?  

Findings: Council does not have any written policy regarding requirements and expectations for monthly and annual Emergency Management reports. The Emergency Management Coordinator (Bill Heaton) was not present at the meeting to comment on this question.


Public Education & Communication

Is there any public record, such as motions, resolutions, or discussions in council meeting minutes that demonstrate council’s commitment to fire safety public education?  

Findings: No official present is aware of any legislative initiatives or commitments to fire safety public education.


Does the borough have a designated public safety spokesperson or communications coordinator for such purposes?  

Findings: There was general consensus that in times of emergency, the mayor, council president, and the Emergency Management Coordinator would speak on behalf of the borough. Kevin Farkas (borough website and social media administration) stated that no borough official has ever asked for administrative access (e.g., credentials) to the official website or Facebook page.    


Confirmation of West Mayfield Special Fire Police

For those WMVFD members currently serving as special fire police, does the borough have a record of confirmation(s) by the current mayor or past mayors?   

Findings: Mayor Cogley has never confirmed WMVFD special fire police officers. No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to comment on this question.

At the time of this meeting, the FSRC had not yet made a public records request for these documents or information. (Update: On June 22, 2024, a public records request was initiated.)


Budget & Finances

Budgeting Process

Appropriations

How does the borough assess, evaluate, and prioritize identified, need-based financial and in-kind support for our fire protection and fire service needs? 

Findings: Council mostly relies on the advisement and financial data provided by the borough secretary-treasurer. Council does not have a budget committee, nor is there an appointed elected official to oversee the budget process. Neither the Finance & Litigation Committee chair (Jason Heaton) nor the borough secretary-treasurer (Pat Lansberry) was present at the meeting to comment on this question. 


Does the Fire and Police Committee (or any other public safety representative in local government) work with other borough officials and/or the fire service to request a listing of needs based on documentary evidence (e.g., financial records, invoices, receipts, cost increase notices, inflationary projections) that help justify appropriations requests? 

Findings: No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to answer this specific question. No officers of the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department were present to comment on this question. 


Does the borough budget section for “Public Safety-Fire” accurately categorize and account for (itemize) all fire prevention and fire protection needs? 

Findings: No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to answer this specific question. No officers of the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department were present to comment on this question. Borough Secretary-Treasurer Pat Lansberry was not present at the meeting to comment on this question. No officials present at the meeting felt they had a sufficient understanding of the borough’s fire safety needs to answer this question.


The municipal budget does not itemize the cost of workers compensation insurance for volunteer fire department staff, which costs taxpayers about $7,000 per year (as noted in council meeting minutes, February 2022). Why is this specific support for the fire service not noted (itemized) in the Public Safety-Fire section of the budget? 

Findings: Borough Secretary-Treasurer Pat Lansberry was not present at the meeting to answer this specific question.  FSRC noted that White Township does itemize its fire department workers compensation expenditure.  

At the time of this meeting, the FSRC had not yet made a public records request for this document or information regarding annual spending for fire department workers compensation insurance. (Update: On June 22, 2024, a public records request was initiated to learn what this specific public safety-fire related cost has been to taxpayers for 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024.  Additionally, for these same years, we requested information regarding fire department workers compensation claims.  Also, we requested a copy of teh 2024 roster of WMVFD members submitted to the borough’s insurance carrier(s) for fire department workers compensation insurance coverage.


Based on fire department reporting in the public record, the borough’s budgeted cash value of fuel provisioned in support of the fire department appears to be grossly and consistently miscalculated between 2020-2024. How can this be explained?     

Findings: Borough Secretary-Treasurer Pat Lansberry was not present at the meeting to answer this specific question. No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to answer this specific question. No official present could offer an explanation for these figures. However, all agreed that council’s annual $150 budget allocation to the WMVFD for both diesel and gasoline fuel seems much too low and unrealistic.     


Budget Construction

When do borough officials begin the process of deliberating and drafting the annual municipal budget? 

Findings: For members of council, the process begins with the budget workshop in November of each year. Some felt that the borough should allow for at least 90 days to construct a budget, perhaps starting in September of each year if not sooner. Borough Secretary-Treasurer Pat Lansberry was not present at the meeting to comment on this question.


Is there a budget committee that directs the borough secretary in drafting the annual municipal budget? 

Findings: Borough Secretary-Treasurer Pat Lansberry was not present at the meeting to answer this specific question. The chair of the Finance & Litigation Committee (Jason Heaton) was not present at the meeting to comment on this question. No official present was aware of any process by which council committees direct the borough-secretary in constructing the budget.      


What role does the Finance & Litigation Committee play in formulating the budget? 

Findings: The chair of the Finance & Litigation Committee (Jason Heaton) was not present at the meeting to answer this specific question. Borough Secretary-Treasurer Pat Lansberry was not present at the meeting to comment on this question.


What role does the Fire & Police Committee play in formulating the public safety budget?  

Findings: No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to answer this specific question. Borough Secretary-Treasurer Pat Lansberry was not present at the meeting to comment on this question. No officers of the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department were present to comment on this question. 


How are budget figures calculated (e.g., based on multi-year actual spending trends, documented needs, invoicing, contract agreements)? 

Findings: No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to answer this specific question. Borough Secretary-Treasurer Pat Lansberry was not present at the meeting to comment on this question. No officers of the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department were present to comment on this question. Officials at the meeting indicated that the use of multi-year actual spending data (e.g., a 3-5 year lookback) or fiscal trend analysis is not part of the budgeting process.  


Where can actual spending data be found? 

Findings: Borough Secretary-Treasurer Pat Lansberry was not present at the meeting to answer this specific question. Some actual spending data can be found in the municipal annual financial audits (currently available up to 2022) and through monthly financial reports. However, both sources are not very specific, making it difficult to analyze and evaluate the accuracy of financial budgeting practices. Because actual data is not readily known, no officials present at the meeting had an understanding of the accuracy of budgeted vs actual amounts for Public Safety-Fire expenditures.   


How can this fiscal data be made readily accessible to the public?   

Findings: Borough Secretary-Treasurer Pat Lansberry was not present at the meeting to answer this specific question


Budget Forecasting

With respect to near and long-term future support for fire prevention and fire protection needs and trends, who is responsible for calculating these figures and conveying this information to council and the public?  

Findings: No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to answer this specific question. No officers of the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department were present to comment on this question. However, officials present at the meeting indicated that the public safety-fire budget must be based on demonstrated need and supporting documentation.     


Should the Fire & Police Committee be tasked with this duty? 

Findings: No representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to answer this specific question. Officials present at the meeting indicated that the Fire & Police Committee should be responsible for determining the borough’s public safety budget. 


What role would the Finance & Litigation Committee play in preparing for these future budgetary needs?  

Findings: Neither Finance & Litigation Committee chair Jason Heaton nor member Lou Little were present at the meeting to answer this specific question. However, committee member Janet Helbig was present and fully supported the idea of the Finance & Litigation Committee taking on central responsibility for the municipal budget process, working with the Fire & Police Committee to determine public safety needs. N representatives of the Fire & Police Committee (Lou Little, Bill Heaton, Jason Heaton) were present at the meeting to comment on this question. Borough Secretary-Treasurer Pat Lansberry was not present at the meeting to comment on this question. 


Tax Base

Fire Tax

Given the current tax base of the borough, what would be the estimated revenue generated by various millage rates?

Findings: Tax Collector Kathy Brewer estimated that a millage fire tax based on current property values might generate the following amounts per year. She cautioned that there is a portion of property taxes that go uncollected, so any estimated revenue based on property tax rolls will be somewhat less than these amounts. 

Fire Tax Millage Rate 

⅓ mill = $5,706 est. annual revenue for fire protection
½ mill = $8,446
¾ mill = $12,970
1 mill = $17,293


What would be the estimated tax burden on residents and businesses for the above tax millages?  

Findings: Tax Collector Kathy Brewer noted that this is a difficult question to answer.  The notion of “burden” is quite subjective as everyone’s wealth status is different, and estimating tax burden on individuals depends on many factors, such as differing property values, number of properties owned in the borough, etc.

However, given the most current 2024 real estate data (e.g., total valuation of taxable properties, total number of taxable properties), residents might expect to pay between $24 – $121 per year to support a 1 mill fire tax–progressive amounts that for some residents would be far less expensive than the fixed monthly or annual “public safety capital fund” or “fire protection assessment” fees charged by some of our municipal neighbors.        


Tax Credit Incentives

Would there be any appreciable impact upon the borough’s property tax base (revenue) if the borough were to implement a tax credit incentive program for members of the volunteer fire department? 

Findings: Tax Collector Kathy Brewer suggested that were the borough to adopt such a tax incentive program as obligated by state statutes, there would be so few eligible volunteer firefighters that the tax burden on the borough would be insignificant. 

End of Report

The FSRC Local Government page is a working project made public to promote open government, transparency, accuracy, and community engagement. The information appearing here is under constant revision. Some typographical errors may exist. Please bring any factual errors on this page to the attention of the committee. Only the committee’s final report to council (scheduled for the fall of 2024) should be considered official and binding. 

MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY

FSRC Questions:

  1. Does local government have statuatory authority over fire prevention and fire protection matters? 

PENNSYLVANIA BOROUGH CODE

Chapter 12.  Corporate Powers

Read Borough Solicitor Joe Budicak’s memo to council re: council’s legal and statutory relationship to the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department

§ 1201.  General powers.

§ 1201.3.  [Real property] Exceptions.

(c)  Reversion.–Real property sold under this section to a volunteer fire company, volunteer ambulance service or volunteer rescue squad, nonprofit medical service corporation or nonprofit housing corporation shall be subject to the condition that, when the property is not used for the purposes of the company, service, squad or corporation, the property shall revert to the borough.

§ 1202.  Specific powers.

The powers of the borough shall be vested in the council. In the exercise of any specific powers involving the enactment of an ordinance or the making of any regulation, restriction or prohibition, the borough may provide for enforcement and penalties for violations. The specific powers of the borough shall include the following:

(15)  To adopt and enforce a construction code, a property maintenance code and a fire prevention code and exercise any additional reserved powers pursuant to Chapter 32A (relating to uniform construction code, property maintenance code and reserved powers).

(24)  To enter into agreements with other political subdivisions, in accordance with existing laws, in making joint purchases of materials, supplies or equipment and in performing governmental powers, duties and functions and in carrying into effect provisions of 53 Pa.C.S. Ch. 23 Subch. A (relating to intergovernmental cooperation), and agreements with the proper authorities of municipal corporations, regional police or fire forces or other public safety or governmental entities created by two or more municipal corporations under 53 Pa.C.S. Ch. 23 Subch. A, either for mutual aid or assistance in police and fire protection or any other public safety services, or for the furnishing to or receiving from the municipal corporations or governmental entities police and fire protection or any other public safety services, and to make appropriations for public safety services. In connection with agreements for police or fire protection or any other public safety services, it shall not be necessary to advertise for bids or receive bonds as required for contracts under existing law. When an agreement has been entered into, the police, firefighters, fire police or any other public safety services of the employing municipal corporation or governmental entity shall have the powers and authority conferred by law on police, firefighters, fire police or any other public safety services in the territory of the municipal corporation which has contracted to secure the service.

(25)  To make contracts of insurance, with any mutual or other fire insurance company, association or exchange, duly authorized by law to transact insurance business in this Commonwealth, on any building or property owned or leased by the borough.

(26)  To provide for other insurance as follows:

(i)  To appropriate an amount as may be necessary to secure insurance or compensation in accordance with Article VI of the act of June 2, 1915 (P.L.736, No.338), known as the Workers’ Compensation Act, for:

(A)  volunteer firefighters of companies duly recognized by the borough, by motion or resolution, killed or injured while going to, returning from or attending fires or while performing their duties as special fire police; and

35)  To purchase or contribute to the purchase of fire engines and fire apparatus, boats, rescue and lifesaving equipment and supplies for the use of the borough for fire, rescue and lifesaving services, including community ambulance service, and to appropriate money for fire companies and rescue units located within the borough, including for the construction, repair and maintenance of buildings for fire companies and rescue units, and to acquire land for those purposes. Appropriations may include funds to establish, equip, maintain and operate lawfully organized or incorporated fire training schools within the county or regional firefighters’ associations or an entity created pursuant to 53 Pa.C.S. Ch. 23 Subch. A for the purpose of giving instruction and practical training in the prevention, control and fighting of fire and related fire department emergencies to the members of fire departments and volunteer fire companies in any municipal corporation within this Commonwealth. Annual appropriations may also be made to an ambulance service, or council may enter into contracts for use in providing community ambulance service.

(56)  To ensure that fire and emergency medical services are provided within the borough by the means and to the extent determined by the borough, including the appropriate financial and administrative assistance for these services. The borough shall consult with fire and emergency medical services providers to discuss the emergency services needs of the borough. The borough shall require any emergency services organization receiving borough funds to provide to the borough an annual itemized listing of all expenditures of these funds before the borough may consider budgeting additional funding to the organization.

§ 1203.  Reserved powers.

The council may make and adopt all ordinances, bylaws, rules and regulations not inconsistent with or restrained by the Constitution of Pennsylvania and laws of this Commonwealth as may be expedient or necessary for the proper management, care and control of the borough and its finances and the maintenance of peace, good government, safety and welfare of the borough and its trade, commerce and manufactures


OTHER POWERS – BOROUGH CODE

§ 1005.  Powers of council.

(5)  To secure indemnity bonds or policies of insurance as it may deem necessary to protect the borough from loss by reason of fire, flood, windstorm, burglary, larceny, negligence or dishonesty or insolvency of a depository, or otherwise, and to pay for the protection the usual or customary costs.

SUBCHAPTER A – GENERAL PROVISIONS

(f)  Police officers and firefighters.–

(1)  No police officer or firefighter may hold an elective office of the borough that employs the police officer or firefighter.

(2)  No police officer or firefighter who is employed by a regional department, council of government or other cooperative venture may hold an elective office of any municipality that participates in the regional department, council of government or other cooperative venture.

(3)  No police officer or firefighter may hold an elective office of the borough in which the police officer or firefighter resides if the department employing the police officer or firefighter is providing police or fire protection service to that borough by contract.


STATUATORY REFERENCES – FIRE HYDRANTS

FSRC Questions:

  • Does the borough have a duty and obligation to provide for fire-related infrastructure, such as water fire hydrants?

§ 2406.  Contracts to supply water for municipal purposes.

Boroughs may receive bids from water companies and municipal authorities authorized to do business within the borough and from other municipalities operating a water system for the supply of water for fire protection and for other municipal purposes. The borough may contract for the supply of water with the water company.


STATUATORY REFERENCES – FUEL CONTRACTS

FSRC Questions:

  • Does the borough have a duty and obligation to provide fuel for the volunteer fire department? 

§ 1404.1.  Purchase contracts for petroleum products and fire company, etc., participation.

The council of each borough shall have power to permit, subject to terms and conditions as it may and, as specifically provided, shall prescribe, a paid or volunteer fire company, paid or volunteer rescue company and paid or volunteer ambulance company in the borough to participate in purchase contracts for petroleum products entered into by the borough. A company desiring to participate in purchase contracts shall file with the borough secretary a request to authorize it to participate in contracts for the purchase of petroleum products of the borough and agreeing that it will be bound by the terms and conditions as the borough may and, as specifically provided, shall prescribe and that it will be responsible for payment directly to the vendor under each purchase contract. Among the terms and conditions, the borough shall prescribe that the prices must be F.O.B. destination.


STATUATORY REFERENCES – FIRE CODES

FSRC Questions:

  • Does the borough have a duty and obligation to have and enforce a fire code?  

§ 32A05.  Reserved powers.

(a)  Power.–If, as a result of legislative action or final order of court which is not subject to appellate review, the Uniform Construction Code or any replacement code is no longer applicable in boroughs, a borough may:

(1)  Enact and enforce ordinances to govern and regulate the following in relation to a building and housing, parts of a building and housing or a facility and service in or about a building or housing:

(i)  Construction, reconstruction, alteration, extension, repair and conversion.

(ii)  Maintenance.

(iii)  Occupation.

(iv)  Sanitation.

(v)  Ventilation, heating, egress, lighting, electrical wiring, water supply, toilet facilities, drainage, plumbing, fire prevention and fireproofing, including limitations under which only buildings of noncombustible material and fireproofed roofs are used in construction.

(vi)  Erection or substantial reconstruction.

(vii)  Use and inspection.

(viii)  Sanitation and inspection of land attached to a building or housing.

(2)  Require that the approval of plans and specifications are secured before construction, reconstruction, alteration, extension, repair or conversion of a building is started.

(3)  Appoint and determine the compensation of the following:

(i)  Building inspectors.

(ii)  Housing inspectors.

(iii)  Property maintenance inspectors.

(iv)  Fire prevention inspectors.

(v)  Electrical inspectors.

(vi)  Plumbing inspectors.

MUNICIPAL ORDINANCES

FSRC Questions:

  1. Does council have any comprehensive plan to update and recodify borough ordinances, especially those related to public safety? If so, what would be the timeline?
  2. Would the Ordinance Committee manage a recodification project?
  3. What recommended changes or amendments to the public safety ordinances would be favored by the Fire & Police Committee?
  4. What recommended changes or amendments to the public safety ordinances would be favored by other council members, other committees, and other borough officials such as the Emergency Management Coordinator, Code Enforcement team, Fire Chief?

By authority of state statutes and the Pennsylvania Borough Code, West Mayfield is empowered to create its own ordinances (and other rules and regulations) regarding fire prevention and fire protection.

Borough Fire Prevention & Fire Protection Ordinances

 
The borough’s ordinance responsible for defining “Volunteer Fire Department.”
 
NOTES:
    1. The borough’s ordinance responsible for defining “Volunteer Fire Department.”
    2. This section originated as “Ord. 92, passed 6-1-42” and let stand as part of the recodified ordinances of 1976.
  •  

Chapter 16: Fire Prevention Code

The borough’s ordinance responsible for defining fire prevention and fire protection is Fire Prevention Code.

NOTES: 

      1. Last revised 1970
      2. Does not contain ordinace adopting Act 93 Fire Insurance Escrow
      3. Enforcement policies ambiguous
      4. Reporting requirements to council weak and inadequate
 

Burning Ban Ordinance

The borough has adopted a ban on open burning. 


Fire Insurance Escrow Ordinance

The Borough of West Mayfield has not adopted a fire insurance escrow ordinance and has not filed it with the Governor’s Center for Local Government Services

Fire Insurance Escrow List

Fire Insurance Escrow Act, Act 93 of 1994

Sample ordinance provided by PSAB

Sample ordinances from other boroughs:

LOCAL GOVERNMENT LEADERSHIP

FSRC Questions:

  1. What is the borough’s leadership structure regarding fire prevention and fire protection matters? 

By authority of state statutes and the Pennsylvania Borough Code, the Borough of West Mayfield is managed by duly elected councilmembers (council) and mayor, as well as various duly appointed borough officers.

COUNCIL

  • Robert Tate, President, Term expires 2028
  • Bill Heaton, Vice President, Term expires 2026
  • Jason Heaton, Council Member, Term expires 2028
  • Janet Helbig, Council Member, Term expires 2028
  • Lou Little, Council Member, Term expires 2028
  • Jeffrey Seybert, Council Member, Term expires 2026
  • Jacob Tate, Council Member, Term expires 2026

Council – Public Safety 

    • Fire & Police Committee
      • Lou Little, Chair
      • Bill Heaton
      • Jason Heaton

MAYOR

  • Licia Cogley, term expires 2026

BOROUGH OFFICERS

  • Pat Lansberry, Secretary-Treasurer
  • Bob Tate, Code Enforcement
  • Tina Lampus, Zoning Officer
  • Joseph A. Budicak, Solicitor

BOROUGH OFFICERS

  • Emergency Management Coordinator
    • Bill Heaton
    • Eli Kosanovich

FIRE SERVICE 

  • WMVFD Fire Department 
    • Fire Chief Lou Little
    • Asst Chief Wendy Harker

COMMUNICATIONS

  • Director or Borough Spokesperson (Unknown)
  • Kevin Farkas (Website/Social Media Administrator)

MUNICIPAL DUTIES & OBLIGATIONS

FSRC Questions:

  1. What local government duties and obligations are required of borough leaders, fire service personnel, and emergency management personnel? 

The specific fire protection and fire prevention related duties and obligations of local government are defined by the following:

  • Pa state statutes
  • Pa Borough Code
  • West Mayfield ordinances
  • Council resolutions, motions
  • customs and practices 
  • intergovernmetnal agreements (emergency management, mutal aid)

MUNICIPAL FIRE SERVICE AGREEMENT

FSRC Questions:

  1. Is there a formal agreement between the Borough of West Mayfield and the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department defining the terms and conditions, duties and obligations of each party?

As per a public records request, the Office of Borough Secretary/Treasurer has no documentation establishing or defining the current relationship between the Borough of West Mayfield and the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department.

Secretary Lansberry:  

As to any information that I have on the fire department, I am afraid that the only thing I have on record is what is found in our codified ordinances.  Unfortunately when I took over the position of secretary from Mr. Joseph Orosz, I didn’t receive all of the records that I should have.  I was given a filing cabinet with records and some old minutes books and that is all that I received.  Some of the records that I had, I stored in the loft above the garage.  At some point, Tommy Orosz, without authorization from anyone on council, decided to burn everything that was in the loft so any of my records that were in the loft were destroyed. (Source: FSRC email correspondence, March 13, 2024) 

Note: Perhaps the WMVFD has written documentation.  

MUNICIPAL MUTUAL AID AGREEMENTS

FSRC Questions: 

  1. Has the elected leadership of the Borough of West Mayfield been included in creating or authorizing mutual aid agreements?
  2. What and where are the written mutual aid agreements between the parties of the Borough of West Mayfield, WMVFD, the West mayfield Emergency Management Office and surrounding municipalities and/or agencies?
  3. What liabilities/risks does the borough face relative to current mutual aid agreements?

State statutes authorizing intrastate mutual aid


Core Group of Local Mutual Aid Responders

References:

Examples:

 
ISO PUBLIC PROTECTION CLASSIFICATION
 
FSRC Questions:
 
 
The current ISO Fire Rating report as of April 16, 2024 obtained by the FSRC shows West Mayfield’s PPC rating of class 5, which is considered average. However, our community scored 50.54 out of 105.5 possible points, placing it near the below average classification.  
 
 

FSRC QUESTIONS FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS
  • Were you aware of this report until FSRC received it? 
  • Are past ISO audit reports kept on record with the Office of the Secretary/Treasurer?
  • Were any borough officials/staff involved in the ISO audit process?

BACKGROUND

ISO fire ratings measure how well prepared a community is to fight fires. A search of the published council meeting minutes from July 2019 to date reveals only three mentions of West Mayfield’s ISO fire service rating (aka, Public Protection Classification or PPC):

  • March 10, 2022: “Fire & Police – Ms. Harker – everything is good at the fire department. She is getting information requested by ISO insurance.”
  • April 14, 2022: “Fire & Police – Ms. Harker – The ISO insurance inspection has been complete and the fire department received a rating of 6. In order to get a higher rating you must have paid fire fighters. The borough needs to adopt an international fire code and adopt an ordinance for it.”
  • October 13, 2022: “Fire & Police – Ms. Harker ISO insurance required all kinds of records and we were given a top rating after the records were reviewed.”

NEIGHBORING ISO FIRE RATINGS

To put West Mayfield’s ISO fire service rating into perspective relative to surrounding communities, the “Regional Fire Study” (released in March 2023) shows the following:
  • City of Beaver Falls = PPC class 3 “considered above average”
  • Big Beaver Borough = PPC class 5 “average”
  • Chippewa Township = PPC class 5
  • Patterson Township = PPC class 5

Other known Municipalities

  • Patterson Heights Borough  = PPC Class 4
  • New Brighton Borough – PPC Class 4
Note: According to insurance analysts, only 57% of communities nationally are rated class five or better.
 

 
SPECIAL FIRE POLICE

FSRC Questions:

  1. In reference to Pa Title 35, Chapter 74 Volunteer Firefighters, Subchapter D Special Fire Police, what is the confirmation status (i.e., have they been conformed by the mayor) of any and all WMVFD emergency responders currently designated as and performing the duties of Special Fire Police?
  2. Does the borough have a documentary record of duly confirmed WMVFD special fire police officers?   
What is the confirmation status of WMVFD Special Fire Police? 
 
The ultimate oversight authority in local government rests with our elected officials–councilmembers and mayor. Some oversight duties (and authority to enforce them) are clearly spelled out in state statutes, the Borough Code, and our own municipal ordinances. But sometimes such authority is vague and sometimes, there are direct challenges to authority–and disregard. For years we’ve heard representatives of the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department emphatically state that the mayor has no authority to swear in fire police. But the law, as we read the text, says differently. 
 
  • Pennsylvania Consolidated Statues Title 35, Chapter 74 Volunteer Firefighters, Subchapter D Special Fire Police addresses the matter of “special fire police;” and
  • Subchapter D Special Fire Police defines the confirmation process of special fire police:

§ 7434. Confirmation. Special fire police nominated under this subchapter shall, before they enter upon their duties, be confirmed by the mayor of the city, the mayor of the borough or town, the chairman of the board of commissioners or supervisors of the township or the chief executive officer of a home rule municipality, as the case may be.

  • The mayor of the Borough of West Mayfield has the express statutory obligation to confirm by oath any persons duly nominated by the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department to serve as a special fire police agent of the department. 

Sample municipal ordinances pertaining to fire police:

MUNICIPAL FPFP INFRASTRUCTURE 

FSRC Questions:

Water System

  • Hydrants (Source: ISO PPC Report)
    • 38 hydrants with a 6 -inch or larger branch and a pumper outlet with or without 2½ inch outlets
    • Frequency of Inspection (FI) – average interval between the 3 most recent inspections): Between 3 and 4 years.
    • Frequency of Fire Flow Testing (FF) – average interval between the 3 most recent inspections: More than 10 years
    • West Mayfield fire hydrant inspection reports (Source: Beaver Falls Water Authority)

Emergency Management Facilities

  • Emergency command or operations facility
  • Emergency Shelter (cooling, warming, communications & electrical)

Emergency Communications System


Land Lot #57 

  • Location: W. 8th Ave., Behind Fire Station
  • PARID: 520020116000
  • PTLOT 57 ED PL
  • Owned by West Mayfield Borough
  • .25 acres
  • Classified as “Exempt” 
  • Purchased by borough in 1930
  • Current Assessment: $39, 600
DateReason CDNotice DateEffective Date319 LandLand AsmtBldg AsmtTotal AsmtTax Year
08-JUN-23J – COURT ORDERED REAPPRAISAL23-JUN-2315-JUN-23$0$39,600$0$39,6002024

Source: Beaver County Property Records

WORKERS COMPENSATION INSURANCE

WMVFD Roster for Workers Compensation Insurance Coverage

FSRC Questions:

  1. As defined in the Pa Workers Compensation Act, what is the member status of each individual listed on the workers compensation roster (e.g., active member or participating member providing regular operational support)? 
  2. Can WMVFD provide documentary evidence for each member’s status: active responding firefighter, participating member, social member (e.g., emergency responders’ incident logs, participating members’ operational support logs with volunteer hours, duties and work tasks, etc.)

2024 WMVFD Roster

July 11, 2024: As per B. J. Gianguillo, President H.A. Thompson, the borough’s Workers Compensation Insurance renews September 2024. WMVFD must submit roster of names, includeding classification as to who is active, fire police, and support personnel.  

2023 WMVFD Roster

Submitted to borough secretary, January 21, 2023. See original document, received from borough secretary on June 9, 2024.

  1. Paul Farkas
  2. Ron Sano
  3. Bill Heaton
  4. Lou Little
  5. Wendy Harker
  6. Arlena Harker
  7. Eli Kosanovich
  8. Imogene Harker
  9. Scott Maxwell
  10. Ben Langer
  11. Matthew Starr
  12. Denise Sabella
  13. Ray Evans Sr.
  14. Jamie Hoskinson
  15. Cody Vorderrbrueg
  16. Ray Evans Jr.
  17. Hayden Boniphant
  18. Matt Drabick
  19. Jason Heaton
  20. Michael Caler     

WORKERS COMPENSATION INSURANCE FOR EMERGECNY MANAGEMENT COORDINATORS

FSRC Questions:

  1. As defined in the Pa Workers Compensation Act, and for the purposes of notifying the borough’s workers comensation carrier, what is the roster of individuals classified as emergency management coordinators?  

Pennsylvania Statutes Title 77 P.S. Workers’ Compensation § 1031. Employees defined; computation of compensation; presumption

(9) All local coordinators of emergency management, as defined in 35 Pa.C.S. § 7502 (relating to local coordinator of emergency management), of the various municipalities who shall be and are hereby declared to be employes of such municipalities for the purposes of this act and who shall be entitled to receive compensation in the case of injuries received while actually engaged as local coordinator of emergency management at any emergency to which he has been called or responded, including travel from and the direct return to his home, place of business or other place where he shall have been when he received the call or alarm or while performing any other duties authorized by the municipality.

Also Emergency Management related under this statute and section: 

(8) All volunteer members of hazardous materials response teams who shall be and are hereby declared to be employes of the Commonwealth agency, county, municipality, regional hazardous materials organization, volunteer service organization, corporation, partnership or of any other entity which organized the hazardous materials response team for the primary purpose of responding to the release of a hazardous material. All such volunteer members of hazardous materials response teams shall be entitled, under this act, to receive compensation in the case of injuries received while actively engaged as hazardous materials response team members or while going to or returning from any emergency response incident or accident which the hazardous materials response team attended, including travel from and direct return to a team member’s home, place of business or other place where the member shall have been when the member received the call or alarm to respond to the emergency incident or accident; or while participating in hazardous materials response drills or exercises in which the hazardous materials response team is participating; or while repairing or doing other work about or on the hazardous materials response team apparatus or buildings and grounds of the hazardous materials response team upon the authorization of the chief of the hazardous materials response team or other person in charge; or while answering any emergency calls for any purpose; or while riding upon the hazardous materials response team apparatus which is owned or used by the hazardous materials response team in responding to an emergency or drill or with the express permission of the chief of the team; or while performing any other duties of such hazardous materials response team as authorized by the Commonwealth agency, county, municipality, regional hazardous materials organization, volunteer service organization, corporation, partnership or any other entity which duly organized the hazardous materials response team.


WORKERS COMPENSATION FRAUD

According to the PA Dept. of Labor and Industry, there are several types of insurance fraud, including:

  1. Employee/ Claimant Fraud: where a person files for a claim or an injury that was not work-related or that never occurred.
  2. Billing/Provider Fraud: where a provider bills for services never rendered or for more time/services than actually provided.
  3. Premium/Insured Fraud: committed by underreporting payroll or misclassifying job classifications.

Fire Apparatus (Vehicle) Insurance

July 11, 2024: As per B. J. Gianguillo, President H.A. Thompson, the borough pays for liability (no collision) insurance coverage for fire department vehicles. At the council meeting, Mr. Gianguillo updated the list of fire department vehicles covered with liability insurance (no collision) by H.A. Thompson company:

  1. 1971 LaFrance Pumper
  2. 1996 International Engine
  3. 2012 E450 Rehab Bus
  4. Add 2000 Command Vehicle Pick Up
  5. Remove 1989 Ford Squad 
  • Mr. Gianguillo recommended raising deductables to save money for borough.
  • Insurance company will be needed for the Command Vehicle

EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT INTEGRATION

Bill Heaton, West Mayfield

Eli Kosanovich,


EMA (Emergency Management)

Pennsylvania’s Emergency Management Services Code (Title 35) directs and authorizes every political subdivision (i.e. county, city, borough, and townships) to have an emergency management program that includes a trained Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC), an Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), and a functioning Emergency Operations Center (EOC) with a trained staff.

Source: Beaver County Emergency Management

Emergency Management Coordinator

Emergency management is a comprehensive, integrated program of mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery for emergencies/disasters of any kind. No public or private entity is immune to disasters and no single segment of society can meet the complex needs of a major emergency or disaster on its own.

A municipal emergency management coordinator is responsible for emergency management – preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation within his/her respective authority having jurisdiction (AHJ). The responsibilities of the emergency management coordinator are outlined in PA Title 35 §7503:

  • Prepare and maintain a current disaster emergency management plan. • Establish, equip, and staff an emergency operations center.
  • Provide individuals and organizations training programs.
  • Organize and coordinate all locally available manpower, materials, supplies, equipment, and services necessary for disaster emergency readiness, response, and recovery.
  • Adopt and implement precautionary measures to mitigate the anticipated effects of a disaster.
  • Cooperate and coordinate with any public and private agency or entity.
  • Provide prompt information regarding local disaster emergencies to appropriate Commonwealth and local officials or agencies and the general public.
  • Participate in all tests, drills and exercises, including remedial drills and exercises, scheduled by the agency or by the federal government.

Title 35 requires Beaver County and its municipalities to have an emergency management coordinator. The Beaver County Office of Emergency Management coordinates countywide emergency management efforts. Each municipality has a designated local emergency management coordinator who possesses a unique knowledge of the impact hazard events have on their community.

The Emergency Management Services Code (PA Title 35) requires that all municipalities in the Commonwealth have a local emergency operations plan (EOP) which is updated every two years. All fifty-three municipalities have adopted the county EOP. The notification and resource section of the plan was developed individually by each municipality.

Source: Beaver County 2021 Hazard Mitigation Plan (p. 242)


EMC Municipal Quarterly Training

Under Title 35, the Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC) is responsible to attend offered trainings and to attain certifications through the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).  As part of Title 35, The County is required to notify the local municipalities of any noted deficiencies. 

Beaver County Emergency Services offers Quarterly Training opportunities at the Emergency Services Center.  The EMC must attend at least two of these sessions per year. We try to make the training convenient by holding both afternoon and evening sessions.  Reminders are sent out to all EMCs via email regarding the upcoming training. On top of the in-house training available, appointed EMCs must attain the PEMA Local Basic Certification level within 1 year of their initial appointment as coordinator.  Following that certification, they are asked to complete PEMA Advanced Certification within 3 years of appointment. Following that certification, we recommend for you to advance your Emergency Management career to complete PEMA Professional Certification.

Municipal Quarterly Training Dates

2022

  • February 22
  • April 12
  • September 13
  • November 17

2023

  • February 21
  • April 11
  • September 12
  • November 16

2024

  • February 20
  • April 9
  • September 10
  • November 21

Source: Beaver County Emergency Management Municipal Quarterly Training


West Mayfield Emergency Management Program

III. CONCEPT OF OPERATIONS/CONTINUITY OF GOVERNMENT

A.The elected officials are responsible for the protection of the lives and property of the citizens. They exercise primary supervision and control over the four phases (prevention, preparedness, response and recovery) of emergency management activities within the municipality.

B. A local Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC) shall act on behalf of the elected officials. An Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been designated by the municipality, and may be activated by the EMC or the elected officials during an emergency. A Deputy EMC and Alternate EOC have been designated to function in case the primary EMC and/or EOC are not available.

C. This plan embraces an “all-hazards” principle: that most emergency response functions are similar, regardless of the hazard. The EMC will mobilize resources and personnel as required by the emergency situation.

D. The EMC and elected officials will develop mutual aid agreements with adjacent municipalities for reciprocal emergency assistance as needed.

~Excerpt: West Mayfield Emergency Operations Plan

Notes:

    • FSRC requested this report (and other records) via email from the borough on May 26, 2024. It was received on May 2, 2024, sent via email by Bill Heaton, West Mayfield EMC. View the correspondence here.
    • This EOP is a controlled document. Some of the information has been withheld. This is standard practice among EM agencies.
    • A search of borough council meeting minutes (July 2019 to date) shows no mention of plan reviews conducted or updates to the West Mayfield EOP, which is 14 years old. Also, the minutes suggest no standardized or regular EM status reporting to council.     

Beaver County Emergency Management Program

Notes:

    • Development and Maintenance Responsibilities (p. 39): Beaver County EMC will coordinate development and maintenance of the plan. Writing, review and update of specific portions of the plan will be accomplished by those staff members/agencies with the best knowledge of the subject matter. Based upon legislation, regulation or PEMA directive, incident-specific annexes require an annual review. All other plan components will be reviewed and updated at least biennially. Whenever portions of this plan are implemented in an emergency event or exercise, a review will be conducted to determine necessary changes. Whether or not used in an actual event, a review of each section of the plan will be conducted at least annually, and a written report will be provided to the EMC indicating concurrence or recommended changes. This plan will be executed upon order of the County Commissioners or their authorized representative.
    • Distribution (p. 39):  This plan and its supporting material are controlled documents. Portions of this plan, by their very nature, are not considered to be available to the general public. Distribution is based upon a regulatory or functional “need to know” basis.
    • APPENDIX 4 PLAN DISTRIBUTION & RECEIPT FORM A (p. 62):  Because of the sensitivity of some portions of this plan, and in order to ensure that plan revisions are posted to every copy, copies of this plan will be numbered and distributed on a need-to-know basis. B. Numbered copies of this plan will be distributed to the following agencies upon request. A “master distribution list” with the numbers of each copy, and the format (printed or electronic) is maintained by the county EMA. • Office of the Commissioners • Sheriff’s Office • County Coroner • Prison • (Other County Offices) • PEMA Western Area Office • Other interested parties (military installations, large employers, etc.) C. Each recipient will sign a receipt form, and the signed receipt will be maintained by the county EMA, along with the distribution list.

County and Local Emergency Operations Plans

PEMA encourages county and local emergency managers to use Comprehensive Preparedness Guide (CPG) 101: Emergency Operations Plans (PDF) when putting together or updating their Emergency Operations Plans.  

This is the national planning guidance. Emergency planning should involve members of the community, including local faith leaders, emergency preparedness partners, nonprofits, and those with access and functional needs. This ensures that the plan accounts for the needs of all citizens in a community.  

PEMA maintains the virtual planning software, CEM Planner, for county and local use if they choose to use it.  

Source: PEMA County and Local EOPs


2021 Beaver County 2021 Hazard Mitigation Plan

See also: West Mayfield in 2016 Beaver County 2016 Hazard Mitigation Plan 

Appendix E – Critical Infrastructure List

  • West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department listed, facility type – fire dept.

Appendix G – Municipal Project Opportunities

  • No Listing for the Borough of West Mayfield 

Municipal Quarterly Training (Source: Beaver County website)

Under Title 35, the Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC) is responsible to attend offered trainings and to attain certifications through the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA).  As part of Title 35, The County is required to notify the local municipalities of any noted deficiencies. 

 Beaver County Emergency Services offers Quarterly Training opportunities at the Emergency Services Center.  The EMC must attend at least two of these sessions per year. We try to make the training convenient by holding both afternoon and evening sessions.  Reminders are sent out to all EMCs via email regarding the upcoming training. On top of the in-house training available, appointed EMCs must attain the PEMA Local Basic Certification level within 1 year of their initial appointment as coordinator.  Following that certification, they are asked to complete PEMA Advanced Certification within 3 years of appointment. Following that certification, we recommend for you to advance your Emergency Management career to complete PEMA Professional Certification.

2024

  • February 20
  • April 9
  • September 10
  • November 21

Beaver County Municipal Emergency Management Coordinators

 
 

PUBLIC EDUCATION 

FSRC Questions:

  1. How do citizens or borough officials know about or convey fire prevention and fire protection information and activies?
  2. Is there any public record, such as motions, resolutions, or discussions in council meeting minutes that demonstrate such activities?

Current borough communications platforms:

Current fire service (WMVFD) platforms:

Community Platforms:

Public Records/Information Requests

February 14, 2024
Status: Resolved
Request:

  1. 2022 Municial Annual Financial Report

  2. WMVFD Year End Roports, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023

To borough secretary Pat Lansberry (PL) via email:
I have copies of the 2020 and 2021 Municipal Financial Report from the DCED website. Can you send me a copy of the 2022 report? I assume the 2023 financial audit was just conducted in January 24. Do you know when this will become public record and could you send me a copy of it, too?
Notes: The 2022 Municipal Financial Report was received by PL. It is now available on the DCED website. Typically this report is received by DECD in April for the preceding year.

2024-02-14, from PL:
You may have heard that council authorized an ad hoc committee to formally review the borough’s fire service and to make recommendations regarding the future of our fire service. I am going to be on this committee. I foresee us reviewing a lot of public records and documentation relevant to the fire department, such as the WMVFD year-end reports. In terms of records, I don’t anticipate much of a look-back beyond five years (but a deeper dive into the past is not out of the question). I’ve been reviewing the online council meeting minutes (July 2019 to Dec. 2023) looking for the WMVFD year-end reports. At best, it is fair to say that these reports from the FD are trivial, incomplete, inconsistent, and not there at all for 2021. Here is my question: Has Asst. Fire Chief Harker provided these reports only orally at the January council meetings (and thus they appear in the minutes) or/and does she send you a written report, too? If there are written reports transmitted to you, the fire service review committee will be asking for them. If they were never submitted in written form–or not at all–to you, it would be helpful to know this as well. Of course, we will give the WMVFD an opportunity to provide their annual reports to the review committee, but we need to understand what information the FD has or has not been sharing with council and the citizens. Going back at least five years, if you have any of these FD year-end reports in writing from the FD, which I assume are public records, could you send them to me on behalf of the review committee?

2024-02-14, from PL:
I will be honest that all I ever got in the way of a report was handwritten on a sheet of paper. I was cleaning out my files and I actually just tossed all of the old ones in the trash. I do have this years which is exactly what I received in the past.

2024-02-14, from PL:
Here are the December, Special Meeting & Reorganization Meeting Minutes as well as the 2022 Audit Report and this year’s report that I got from Wendy. Perhaps you can understand why I didn’t save the other ones because they were all the same. I should have saved them and I’m sorry I didn’t have them available for you. I did get one every year. I will forward the December, January and February financial reports after the March meeting.

2024-02-15 from KF to PL:
Thanks for all the info, Pat. I’ve looked through the meeting minutes online and I do not see a FD year end report for 2021. Maybe I’m missing something. If you do not have this info, don’t worry about it. The Fire Service Review Committee will be asking the FD to provide us with their annual reports. I just need to be factual about whether the FD did or did not submit a year end report to council for 2021. FYI – Bob Tate told me that he gave the fire & police committee chair a list of things that the FD should be reporting to council each month. Let’s hope the FD can provide, hopefully in writing to make your job easier.

2024-02-15, from PL:
I believe that I explained in the first email that I discarded the reports from the fire department because they were written on scrap paper. i do apologize for not keeping them (I actually just threw them out this week. I did receive these reports yearly from Wendy but they really didn’t give much information – only gas used, the number of fire calls answered and the mileage for the FD vehicles

2024-02-15 from KF to PL:
Thanks Pat. I want to make sure I have the facts correct.

 


March 12, 2024
Status: Resolved
Request:

  1. Fire Service Agreement

To borough secretary Pat Lansberry (PL) via email:
Does your office have or know of any record(s) pertaining to a fire service agreement between the borough and WMVFD? This might be in the form of a charter document, a motion, resolution, etc.

2024-03-13, From PL:
As to any information that I have on the fire department, I am afraid that the only thing I have on record is what is found in our codified ordinances. Unfortunately when I took over the position of secretary from Mr. Joseph Orosz, I didn’t receive all of the records that I should have. I was given a filing cabinet with records and some old minutes books and that is all that I received. Some of the records that I had, I stored in the loft above the garage. At some point, Tommy Orosz, without authorization from anyone on council, decided to burn everything that was in the loft so any of my records that were in the loft were destroyed. I will do the best I can to provide your committee with information


April 8, 2024
Status: Resolved
Request:

  1. ISO PPC Audit

To borough secretary Pat Lansberry (PL) via email:
As part of the Fire Service Review Committee’s research, we are looking into the community’s ISO Fire Rating–which affects insurance coverage and/rates. The organization that conducts the audits (comes to the fire department and borough) says that they reach out to municipal leaders, such as mayors, as well as fire departments. Are you aware of any correspondence to the borough from a company called Verisk or any other company regarding these ISO Fire Audits?

2024-04-08, From PL:
I have not received anything regarding ISO fire department audits.


May 14, 2024
Status: Fulfilled
Request:

  1. Open Burning Ordinance(s)

To borough secretary Pat Lansberry (PL) via email:
At your convenience could you send me a copy of Ordinance #101019? (An Ordinance of the Borough of West Mayfield, County of Beaver, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania hereby amending Ordinance Number 021119 which banned Open Burning and established an Ordinance prohibiting Open Burning in the Borough.

2024-05-15, From PL:
Here are the ordinances you requested.


May 26, 2024
Status: Fulfilled
Request:

  1. Emergency Management Operations Plan
  2. Council Resolution Adotping EOP 

To borough secretary Pat Lansberry (PL) via email:
The Fire Service Review Committee is seeking public documents regarding Emergency Management. At your convenience, could you provide to me the following: The Borough of West Mayfield’s Emergency Management Plan
If separate from the above document, any and all emergency management related mutual aid agreements with adjacent political subdivisions for reciprocal emergency assistance. Any Borough of West Mayfield ordinances (perhaps resolutions, motions) that ratify the current Emergency Management Plan and/or ratify any and/all emergency management mutual aid agreements with adjacent political subdivisions.

2024-06-02, From Bill Heaton, Emergency Management Coordinator:
Here are just some of the work/ ideas we have done within WM emergency management. The EOP (Emergency Operation Plan) is a basic plan. It hasn’t change since I’ve been the coordinator. What does change is info inside the basic plan like when new council members are elected, and any changes to our local resources that maybe available to us or response plan updates. I will not share resource / plans and providers info as this could undermine our effort. It may allow those looking to create issue with how and where to weaken our effort’s. I also included an old version of the emergency response plan from PTC alliance which they are required to update yearly. I have removed names and numbers from the plan to protect those individuals. Eli or I attend almost every quarterly train meeting at county. One of us is there for every meeting, 95% of the time we both attend. In then past we held trainings with the WMVFD at the old B&W mill around spills and possible leaks from their chemical storage. In 2007 we were part of the county wide terrorist training that was based on the power plant attack. We offered a plan for an attack on the Christian School as a diversion prior to the power plant attack. We had several fire departments and ambulances involved. We simulated a explosion in the school, blocked off normal fie exit and disabled the fire alarm system. We removed the principal to see how his subordinate would handle the situation. We shut the school down and transferred students to the fire hall where they were released to go home either by parent pickup or on their normal bus. We were the only municipality outside the 20-mile power plant zone to be involved. This was a real learning experience and brought issue up that we needed to work on. We are the only EOC (Emergency Operation Center) that has a trailer for responses to aid residence with power and heating concerns in the event of a lengthy power outage. We have advised county of this unit in the event it might be needed at other sites if available. We have a joint agree to handle Eastvale Borough emergency management as well. Currently there are only three of us involved. We could use help if anyone has an interest. Please contact me. At 724-513-5640.

KF Note: Received 8 attachments from EMC Bill Heaton (see emails dated June 2 & June 6).

2024-06-06, From KF to BH:
On behalf of the FSRC, thanks for your timely response to our request for Emergency Management related documents and information that helps us better understand this program and its interrelationship with Beaver County’s EM program and our community’s own fire service, local government, and citizens. You provided a lot of information, and it will take some time for us to review it. For now, perhaps you can answer a few specific questions we have regarding the West Mayfield Emergency Operations Plan (EOP):

You stated:

The EOP (Emergency Operation Plan) is a basic plan. It hasn’t change since I’ve been the coordinator. What does change is info inside the basic plan like when new council members are elected, and any changes to our local resources that maybe available to us or response plan updates. I will not share resource / plans and providers info as this could undermine our effort. It may allow those looking to create issue with how and where to weaken our effort’s.


KF: The EOP document you provided is nearly 14 years old, as stated on its cover. Shouldn’t there be a more current EOP on record?

BH: The plan I sent you is the basic plan outline. As stated we update info inside the plan as we make changes. Unless you want a copy of the same blank plan with a new date on it.

KF: The EOP’s section Certification of Review calls for “A regular (biennial or sooner) review of this Emergency Operations Plan has been done by the Emergency Management Agency and the review is hereby certified by the Municipal Emergency Management Coordinator.” The only entry in this section is “9-9-10.” Shouldn’t this section demonstrate any and all formal reviews of the EOP?


BH: The Eop plan does have those date listed as well as the reason for the changes. I can look at the last dated change which was this February of this year and give you just the dates portion.

KF: The EOP’s section Records of Changes/Updates is blank. Is it possible, even after the borough’s documented flooding events of 2011, 2014, 2017 (as listed in the Beaver County, Pennsylvania 2021 Hazard Mitigation Plan) as well as many other documented local and regional emergency incidents over the past 14 years (e.g., the East Palestine train derailment) that no changes or updates to the EOP have been warranted?

BH: Again, we make changes as needed. We can not plan for every possible train derailment that may happen because it can contain its own issues depending on the products being carried. We did put the starting point for derailments. Both Eli and I have been to the county trainings where the East Palestine event was discussed. Basicaly it just a review of how thing progress through the governments and the time line of the event. The procedure to handle a incident are listed in the emergency response guide books which both us and the FD have.

KF: The EOP’s section Distribution List does not include the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department. Understanding that EOPs are, in fact, “controlled” documents, shouldn’t it be demonstrated that the EOP has been communicated to the I i fire service?

BH: Again, an event that triggers the opening of the EOC (Emergency Operation Center) is based on the incident. As local emergency management we are a resource and work with the FD for the incident, the FD is in charge of the scene. As previously stated we have done training with the FD.

KF: It is understood that some information in EOPs is sensitive, as you explain. Beaver County’s own EOP states: This plan and its supporting material are controlled documents. Portions of this plan, by their very nature, are not considered to be available to the general public. Distribution is based upon a regulatory or functional “need to know” basis. However, BCEM does make available a public-facing version of its EOP that is demonstrably current and updated (e.g., documenting dates that the EOP has been reviewed, dates that changes/updates have been made, and listing a meaningful distribution list of those officials and agencies with a “need to know”). For the sake of public safety community education, is it possible to provide the citizens of West Mayfield with an appropriate version of our EOP (as Beaver County EM shares its EOP on its website)?

BH: As stated above will provide a list of change that have been made .

2024-06-03, From PL:
I went through all of the ordinances and resolutions that I have in my files and this is the only one that I found dealing with Emergency Management (Resolution 120910, Resolution Approving the Current Emergency Management Service Plan).


June 7, 2024
Status: Pending (a 2024 roster is currently being created)
Request: 

  1. Most current roster of WMVFD staff submitted for workers compensation insurance coverage.

To borough secretary Pat Lansberry (PL) via email:
The FSRC is requesting the most current roster of WMVFD members submitted to the borough’s workers comp insurance (or any other borough insurance or 3rd party insurance paid for by the borough).

2024-06-09, From PL:
Here is the 2023 Roster which I submitted to our Work Comp insurance company.


June 14, 2024
Status: Fulfilled
Request: 

  1. Written Fire & Police Committee report for June 2024.

To borough secretary Pat Lansberry (PL) via email:
The FSRC is documenting the Fire & Police Committee reporting to council. At last month’s council meeting, Lou Little submitted a written fire department report, but the information was not read into the record (stated orally to council). As a result, neither the committee nor citizens had an opportunity to hear the report. However, I did get a copy of the written report (which I’ve attached here if you have not seen it). Would it be possible to include this small amount of information in the May council meeting minutes so that citizens will be able to have access to it as part of the public record? Also, at the June 13, 2024 council meeting Lou Little again submitted a written fire department report, and this information was not read into the record. Would it be possible to have this information included in the June council meeting minutes as part of the public record? This would satisfy the FSRC inquiry if we can access the information via the June minutes. If for some reason the written information cannot appear in the June minutes, could you provide the committee with the written report. This record should be covered under the RTKL.

2024-06-14, From PL:
I will see if I have a copy of the June report. If I don’t, I will contact Lou to get a copy Unfortunately I didn’t type the May minutes. I will see if I can add it to the copy provided to me by Licia. If I can’t, Licia will have to do it and resend it to me.


June 22, 2024
Status: Pending. On June 26, 2024 PL requested a 30 day extension. Request due: July 26, 2024
Request:

  1. Parking Lot Lease Agreement
  2. All records of confirmation of Special Fire Police by the mayor 
  3. 2024 WMVFD roster of staff submitted for workers compensation insurance coverage
  4. Annual cost of WMVFD workers compensation insurance premiums for each of the years 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024
  5. Number of workers compensation insurance claims filed by WMVFD staff for each of the years 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024

To borough secretary Pat Lansberry (PL) via email:
We would like to obtain the lease agreement currently in effect between the Borough of West Mayfield and the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department regarding the “parking lot” behind the fire station (i.e., the .24 acre plot (#57 ED PL, PARID: 520020116000).

We would like to obtain any records documenting or information pertaining to members of the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department nominated and confirmed by the Mayor (or any other elected borough official) to be Special Fire Police Officers.

We would like to obtain, if currently available or as soon as it becomes available, the 2024 roster of members of the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department submitted to the borough’s insurance carrier(s) for the purpose of providing said members with workers compensation insurance coverage.

We would like to obtain any records documenting or information pertaining to the cost of workers compensation premiums paid by the Borough of West Mayfield on behalf of and for the benefit of members of the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department for each of the years 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024.

We would like to obtain any records documenting or information pertaining to any and all workers compensation claims filed with the borough’s insurance carrier(s) by or on behalf of members of the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department for conditions arising as a result of serving with the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department for each of the years 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, and 2024. Please note, we are not asking for personal medical information or any information defined as “exempt” by the Right-To-Know-Law or other statutes.

2024-06-26, From PL:
I am still working on your request. I have been unable to locate anything about a lease agreement between the Borough and the Fire Department or any records documenting firemen being nominated and confirmed by any member of council as special fire police officers. I will continue to research these two requests. I have requested a copy of the 2024 roster but have not yet received it. I am checking with the insurance company for requests 4 and 5. One more thing, I am requesting a 30 day extension to continue the research on all of your requests. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.

2024-06-26, From KF to PL:
Thanks for giving us an update regarding the four public records/information requests from the FSRC submitted to you on June 22, 2024. We look forward to hearing from you on or about July 26, 2024, if not sooner, regarding our requests.

2024-07-11, Joe Budicak to PL, KF:
Pat On this request I am not sure if the insurance company can break down the premium for WC as to each person or even as to Fire Dept. as a whole. In other words does the premium just lump them and other borough employees like your self and Brian any anyone else. As far as claims for WC I would just indicate the number of claims if any and identity of person or type of injury.

2024-07-11, KF to JB, PL:
Regarding your question as to whether the borough’s insurance carrier can break down the fire department share of workers compensation costs, we believe this amount to be discoverable. Some municipalities do have this figure listed in public records. For example, White Township lists their FD workers compensation cost in their Public Safety-Fire budget (411.195 · Fire Dept Workers Comp, $8,000 budgeted for 2022), which corresponds to the amount of $7,210 listed on line 411.00 of their 2022 Municipal annual Financial Audit. Moreover, West Mayfield council meeting minutes from February 2022 state: “Mrs. Horvath asked what the borough council provided for the fire department. They [council] pay for liability insurance in the amount of about $5500, work comp insurance for about $7000 . . . ” This assertion should have some basis in fact, we believe.

Regarding workers compensation claims filed on behalf of fire department staff, just the number of claims for the years requested would satisfy our request.


July 5, 2024
Status: Pending. On July 9, 2024 PL requested a 30 day extension. Request due: August 8, 2024
Request: 

  1. Payment information regarding WMVFD insurance & bonding coverage
  2. Monthly financial reports for the calendar years 2020, 2021, and 2022
  3. Actual expenditures for Public Safety-Fire items for the years 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023, 2024

To borough secretary Pat Lansberry (PL) via email:
Insurance & Bonding – Is the borough obligated by state statute, Borough Code, or local ordinance to provide liability insurance and bonding coverage for the borough’s designated fire service provider, and if so does the “Insurance & Bonding” line item in municipal budgets attest to satisfying this specific fiscal obligation? 

Is the expenditure of municipal funds for fire service “Insurance & Bonding” actually paid by the borough directly to an insurance carrier on behalf of the West Mayfield Volunteer Fire Department (e.g., $6,188 paid in June 2023 by check #2378 to “VFIS” for “Fire Department 2023 Insurance Premium”) or is the monies for “Insurance & Bonding” ever paid directly to the WMVFD so that the fire department may appropriate the necessary insurance and bonding coverage themselves? 

Do you know if the borough’s “Insurance & Bonding” expenditures are synonymous (one and the same) with the “Insurance Premiums” and “Bonding Premiums” reported in the West Mayfield Firemen’s Relief Association audits?

Monthly Municipal Financial Reports – We would like copies of the monthly financial reports for the calendar years 2020, 2021, and 2022. This would be the same information that you provide to council at each monthly council meeting. If it is easier for you, it would be acceptable if you were to provide the monthly information in a comprehensive pdf document for each year (e.g., just 3 reports).

Municipal Expenditures for “Public Safety-Fire” Spending

2020 Vehicle Fuel
What is the budgeted expenditure for 2020?
What is the actual expenditure for 2020?

2020 Insurance and Bonding
What is the actual expenditure for 2020?

2020 Minor Machinery & Equipment
What is the actual expenditure for 2020?

2021 Vehicle Fuel
What is the actual expenditure for 2021?

2021 Insurance and Bonding
What is the actual expenditure for 2021?

2021 Minor Machinery & Equipment
What is the actual expenditure for 2021?

2022 Vehicle Fuel
Actual Expenditure: $106* (Is this the actual expenditure for 2022?)

2022 Insurance and Bonding
What is the actual expenditure for 2022?

2022 Minor Machinery & Equipment
What is the actual expenditure for 2022?

2023 Vehicle Fuel
What is the actual expenditure for 2023?

2023 Insurance and Bonding
Actual Expenditure: $6,188* (Is this the actual expenditure for 2023?)

2023 Minor Machinery & Equipment
What is the actual expenditure for 2023?

2024 (Year to Date) Vehicle Fuel
What is the actual expenditure for 2024 (YTD)?

2024 Insurance and Bonding
What is the actual expenditure for 2024 (YTD)?

2024 Minor Machinery & Equipment
What is the actual expenditure for 2024 (YTD)?

2024-07-09, From PL:
I noted in my reply to this request that I was unable to provide the information requested due to preparing for the meeting on Thursday and having to do quarterly reports. I asked for your considera but I did not get a reply from you. As permissible by law, I am now requesting a 30 day extension to research and provide all of the information that you have requested.

2024-07-09: KF to PL:
The public records/information request you are referring to here (original email dated July 5, 2024) is a separate set of requests than FSRC made on June 22. 2024, for which you requested a 30 day extension. Please see the email chain below, which includes my acknowledgement of your request.

2024-07-09: From PL:
Kevin, I did get your response for the June request. I intended to request another for the July 5th request

2024-04-09, KF to PL:
Hi Pat, thanks for giving us an update regarding the public records/information requests FSRC submitted to you on July 5, 2024. We look forward to hearing from you on or about August 8, 2024, if not sooner, regarding our requests.

GENERAL AREAS OF INQUIRY