IFPD looking into ambulance and water tender buys: Current budget balanced, surplus expected

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The Idyllwild Fire Protection District Finance Committee will begin investigating the possibility of consolidating existing debt and new loans for acquiring new ambulances and water tenders.

At the Aug. 4 meeting, Fire Chief Patrick Reitz asked the committee to begin examining the district’s options for paying off existing loans for two brush trucks and heart monitors.

These debts total $213,800. The outstanding balance on the two engines is about $173,300 and the balance is for heart monitors purchased in 2010.

Also, Reitz recommended the committee plan for several vehicle purchases, financed with loans and, thus, part of the total financing package, Reitz said.

The top priority is a new ambulance and possibly a second ambulance within a year or two. Also, IFPD is considering purchasing one or two water tenders.

Reitz said the new ambulance could be “a demonstration unit returned to service after being rebuilt” or a previously used ambulance with a replaced chassis. “We want an option that maximizes taxpayers’ benefits,” he told the committee.

When asked about disposing of the existing ambulances, he replied that several options were available, including keeping one in reserve.

Cost estimates for the ambulances are between $105,000 and $150,000, depending on how new or pristine the vehicle. Water tenders may cost about $65,000 each.

Commissioner Nancy Layton, committee chair, appointed citizen committee members Sue Weisbart and Calvin Gogerty to a subcommittee to pursue the financing options. They hope to have an initial report at the committee’s September meeting.

In other business, the committee recommended a proposed 2014-15 budget to the IFPD Commission for review at the August meeting and approval at the September meeting.

Estimated revenues total $1,932,600, an increase of $184,800 (10.6 percent) more than received in fiscal 2013-14, which ended June 30. Expenditures are estimated to total about $1,805,378, or $73,800 more than last year.

As a result IFPD anticipates a net surplus of about $126,000 this fiscal year. IFPD’s operating budget generated a $16,200 net surplus last fiscal year, in addition to carrying over $218,000 from the sale of a cell tower lease.

The committee agreed to hold its regular meetings on the first Tuesday of each month, a week before the regular commission meeting. The Finance Committee will convene next at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 2.

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