At its May 8 meeting, the Idyllwild Fire Commission accepted the long awaited audit for the fiscal year that ended last June 30, 2011.

The commission forwarded the audit to the California Special Districts Association with which it is trying to refinance its vehicle and medical equipment leases and loans. If the CSDA approves, IFPD will have one consolidated annual payment and lease.

If approved, the finance time will be extended, and the borrowing rate will be lower, according to Commissioner Jerry Buchanan. The first payment on the new loan would be in 12 months, thus eliminating the current year’s payments. Postponing the payments will allow IFPD to begin rebuilding its reserves, he said.

The highlights (or lowlights) of the 2010-11 audit include recognition that the fire department’s expenses again exceeded revenue last year. As of June 30, 2011, its net assets were a negative $57,000 compared to nearly $645,000 on June 30, 2010. And net assets at the beginning of the year were restated from the previous audit.

Part of the revision is because IFPD is now acknowledging a long-term debt to CalPERS of about $450,000.

The commission did adopt fixed-asset and investment policies that were recommended in the 2010 audit.

Buchanan added that the number of specific accounting adjustments was about 90 percent less than the auditors made a year ago. “It’s a fairly clean audit,” he concluded. “Actually a rather favorable audit, I’m more confident as we move ahead.”

Buchanan also plans to bring a proposal for the firm, Rogers, Anderson, Malody and Scott, LLP of San Bernardino, to conduct the next two audits. His intent is to begin these audits in a more timely fashion so they will be completed in the fall of the same year.

During the public comment period, two people addressed the board about the current issue of ambulance service for Pine Cove and Zone 3 residents.

Marge Muir, local real estate agent with property in both areas, encouraged the board to be more open with County Service Area 38’s Advisory Committee. “We’re unhappy being shut out and only asking for transparency,” she urged the commission.

Commission President Jeannine Charles-Stigall responded that the actual contract was between the fire district and the county and Pine Cove residents should address their concerns about involvement with Riverside County’s Emergency Medical Services Agency (REMS).

Commission Vice President Dr. Charles “Chip” Schelly reported that IFPD’s meetings with REMS were proceeding well and he expected them to be resolved before July 1.

The district and career firefighters are continuing to negotiate new contract terms, after the February announcement of an across-the-board seven percent reduction in salary. Buchanan said the negotiations were proceeding well and the two organizations were trading language for an agreement. “I’m extremely positive,” he added and expects to bring a proposal to the board soon.

The commission also agreed to maintain its current policy of two meetings each month, the second and fourth Tuesdays. If insufficient business is available, the second meeting may be canceled. But several Commission members urged the continuation of the current policy, so no vote was taken on changing the policy.