The Idyllwild Fire Protection District commission approved its final 2011-12 budget this week. The overall budget balances revenues and expenditures are set at $1,687,400 each.

The final budget forecast increased revenue of $20,000 with a proposed ambulance rate increase, which Fire Chief Norm Walker will bring to the commission next month. Walker also reduced expenditures about $8,700 from June’s preliminary budget, thus balancing the income and outgo.

This budget is about $149,000 less than actual 2010-2011 fiscal year expenditures. And, revenues are projected to grow almost $92,000 from actual income last year.

The revenue growth is primarily due to a 19-percent growth in ambulance fees, including a full year of collections at the rates approved last fall, and a 50-percent increase in receivables from participating in mutual aid incidents.

But these funds actually just cover the district’s costs. “Some say we make money. We actually break even,” Walker told the commission. “Every time an engine goes out, there is wear and tear on the tires. Those [amortized] costs are part of the administrative costs.”

Costs will decline about $150,000 from 2010-2011 actual expenditures. Last year’s expenses were higher because the district had to make retirement and deferred compensation payments that were to have been paid in 2009-2010.

Administrative costs should fall because IFPD will not have to pay extra to organize its files for the next audit. However, the ambulance collection fees are expected to remain level although actual receipts are projected to increase $70,000, more than 25 percent.

The significant reductions are the result of refinancing the loans for the brush truck and engine, which will cut loan payments about $22,000 annually. In addition the chief’s discretionary fund was reduced $7,000 and the dispatch contract will be nearly $10,000 less.