Idyllwild Fire committee satisfied with current budget status

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Mutual aid revenues increasing

Through the end of its first quarter of the current fiscal year on Sept. 30, the Idyllwild Fire Protection District has a negative balance. However, that is usual for IFPD and many special districts that do not begin receiving property-tax revenue until December.

The district’s finance committee reviewed the first-quarter data and discussed the status of its 2016-17 audit at the Nov. 8 meeting.

This year, it had already prepared for the typically tight first-half-of-the-year cash flow by asking the county for a $400,000 advance of its property-tax revenue. Expenditures appear normal, according to financial consultant Rob Dennis.

“The cash flow will be positive through the remainder of the fiscal year,” reported Battalion Chief Mark LaMont.

“We’ll have the October financial report at the November commission meeting,” reported Chief Patrick Reitz.

While some accounts, such as funding for the emergency medical services coordinator and minor equipment, already exceed the budgeted amount, Finance Committee Chair Jerry Buchanan said this issue would be reviewed at the committee’s January meeting. “We can move some funds around,” he told Dennis.

Because of the many mutual-aid fire calls, to which IFPD responded, the revenue from mutual aid will be closer to $400,000 than the original estimate of $312,000, LaMont told the committee.

Reitz, LaMont and Dennis have been working with the auditor, Fedak and Brown of Cypress, to complete the audit and have reviewed a draft. Reitz thought the final audit may be available for the November commission meeting or perhaps December.

Buchanan expressed disappointment that the final audit would be done so late. He has encouraged the auditor to complete it sooner, such as October or November.

Speaking to the current audit, Reitz said, “There are no surprises. Most recommendations are a repeat of the same as in prior years. But as a small district, we can’t afford to hire enough staff to satisfy all the ‘checks and balances.’ Given the size of the district, it’s very difficult to follow all of them.”

“Ending the year on the positive side is the big take away,” Dennis added. “Revenues exceeded expenditures by more than $56,000.”

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