We want to publicly express our thanks and appreciation to the members of the Idyllwild Career Firefighters Association for their willingness to sacrifice a portion of their pay and benefits in order to help IFPD in our efforts to reach a balanced budget for the 2011–2012 fiscal year.
The six career captains and engineers forfeited a promised pay raise of $200 per month and all nine career firefighters gave up a promised $100 per month increase in the employer’s contribution toward the cost of their health care plans. Additionally, they agreed to begin paying 2 percent of their base pay toward their CalPers retirement accounts. These unselfish concessions by our firefighters amount to a total of approximately $36,505, or an average of $4,056 per firefighter in lost pay during the 2011–2012 fiscal year.
Measure G, which we’ll soon be voting on, asks the people these firefighters serve to commit to a cap of another $65 per year in our special assessment. But, assuming it passes with a 2/3 majority vote, it will take we property owners 62 years to give up the equal of what each of our firefighters are giving up in one year.
Certainly, Idyllwild is not unique in being forced to ask our public employees for concessions during these difficult times, but we are somewhat unique given the fact that our firefighters are currently paid significantly less than their counterparts are paid in other departments, both near and far.
And, speaking of difficult times, although the Town Crier has referred to the cash IFPD has on-hand at the beginning of the fiscal year as “reserves,” as explained before, the money we have in our accounts as of July 1 is there for the sole purpose of making it possible for us to pay our bills during the first 4 or 5 months of the fiscal year until we begin receiving property tax and special assessment income in December.