Rescue squad board suggests bylaws changes
SALISBURY — The Rowan County Rescue Squad board of directors looked over a draft of amended bylaws Thursday that would keep the squad from losing $50,000 in county money.
The draft will be presented to the squad during its membership meeting at 7 p.m. tonight. They won’t vote on it, though, until the next membership meeting on the first Wednesday in February.
The squad’s executive board of directors will then give final approval of the bylaws and send them to county commissioners for review.
The draft was created by a committee made up of board and squad members. Board president Steve Schenk said the amendments had to be scaled back from a previous draft that was presented to the membership.
“I think what happened was we overwhelmed the membership with a lot of changes, and it caused concern, so we backed up to meeting the minimum requirements,” Schenk said.
The new draft makes only those changes necessary to prevent the county from cutting its funding by $50,000, he said.
The county has said it will lower its allocation to the rescue squad from $350,000 to $300,000 if the squad does not revise its bylaws to meet its recommendations. That’s down from $400,000 after another county cut last year.
The squad has until March 29 to send a final copy of the new bylaws to commissioners.
According to the draft bylaws, the rescue squad board would appoint the chief and its own chairman and vice chairman, as requested by commissioners. Right now, the squad appoints the board, the chief and the chairman.
The new bylaws also would make some shifts in power as recommended by commissioners. The chief would be in charge of day-to-day operations of the squad, while the board will handle any budget and policy decisions.
Currently, the squad members and their chief hold those responsibilities, and the board is largely an advisory body.
Schenk said there are still many other items that need to be corrected or clarified in the bylaws.
“At some point in the future, this whole document needs to be redone,” he said.
Commissioner Jim Sides, a board member, agreed with Schenk. But he said it’s a good idea to first make sure the county’s minimum requirements are met, and the current draft does that.
“I just don’t want to see the squad lose funding,” he said.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, the rescue squad board:
• Elected Steve Schenk as its vice president.
• Accepted a financial update and budget amendments from Chief Eddie Cress.
• Voted to move forward with discussions about building a station on land owned by Nazareth Children’s Home in Rockwell. The squad has rented a 6,000-square-foot warehouse from St. James Lutheran Church since 2005, but the church is likely to need it back soon.
The children’s home is considering leasing three or four acres of land to the squad for 99 years at a rate of $1 per year, board members said. The squad would build a metal structure with a brick facade to house its equipment.
• Authorized 401-k payments for the chief and assistant chief.
• Set its next meeting for Feb. 7 at 6 p.m.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.