IFPD ends year with positive budget

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Preliminary financial data for fiscal year 2016-17 indicate the Idyllwild Fire Protection District produced a significant net income compared to many recent years.

“We’re closing out the year in good condition,” reported Commissioner and Treasurer Jerry Buchanan. Net income was nearly $143,000. For the fiscal year, revenues exceeded $2.2 million, while expenses were $2.1 million. Ambulance or medical-service billings were nearly $260,000 ahead of projections and actual collections were almost $500,000 or $50,000 more than projected last July.

The number of medical-aid calls increased this year, thus helping to increase the medical services billing. During fiscal year 2016-17, there were 645 calls, which was 77 more than last fiscal year. In fiscal year 2014-15, IFPD had 676 medical calls, according to Battalion Chief Mark LaMont.

Expenses produced no major surprises. While funding for reserves exceeded the budget by about $40,000, this was more than offset by the cost of captains’ salaries being $75,000 below budget. Services were up primarily for vehicle repair and maintenance.

Overall, IFPD enters the new fiscal year, which began July 1, with slightly more than $575,000 cash in its accounts.

Buchanan and staff also are working with the district’s auditor to get a draft and completed audit this fall. “There was no uncertainty expressed that we did not want to see December, January or February for final audit,” he said to his commission colleagues. “We’re shooting for completion in August.”

In other financial business, the commission approved opening a new account at BBVA Compass bank. Staff was authorized to explore and possibly open a $250,000 line of credit with this account.

For the past several years, the district has had to request from Riverside County an advance of property-tax revenue to pay its bills until December. Buchanan said this might give the district some short-term flexibility when cash flow, such as during fall months, is slow.

Commissioner Henry Sawicki reported that he and fellow Commissioner Larry Donahoo had met as the ad hoc committee for a future parcel fee or tax measure. They discussed some options and are exploring them. The committee will report “recommendations beneficial to re-introducing a measure to the community” at the September commission meeting, he said.

Fire Chief Patrick Reitz reported that engines and staff have been assigned to various fires throughout California during the current fire season.

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