The Idyllwild Fire Protection District commission approved a proposed 2013-14 budget for $1.7 million at its June 25 meeting.
Projected costs are $1.67 million, which would yield a $20,400 surplus at the end of the fiscal year (June 30, 2014). This year through May, IFPD has a $10,000 surplus.
Next year’s budget projects revenue growth of about $27,000. While the ambulance fee revenue grows 14.7 percent or about $40,000, the commission assumes property tax revenue will fall again by about $14,000 or 1 percent.
Expenses are projected to fall $17,000. While the largest decline is salaries and benefits, the $37,000 drop is attributable to vacancies during the fiscal year. Former Capt. Mike Mulhall retired in March and a replacement has not been selected. If filled from current staff, then a subordinate vacancy will exist.
Retirement costs, which have exceeded $200,000 in the past two fiscal years, are expected to be less than $175,000 next year.
Training costs and education for emergency medical and wildland fire will increase more than $13,000 in 2013-14. Also, Fire Chief Patrick Reitz has budgeted $6,500 for an EMS coordinator.
IFPD budgeted $15,000 for its new accounting services. The request for proposal was issued in June and responses were due July 2. This is $2,000 more than IFPD was paying for the bookkeeping contract this year.
The cost of dispatch service from Riverside County is expected to increase $10,000 to $50,500 next year.
The only reserves being accumulated are the projected $20,000 surplus, said Commissioner Jerry Buchanan, and possibly from the telecommunications lease sale Reitz is negotiating with SBA.
But negotiations are taking longer than he expected. “A number of issues have occurred, but I’m still hoping for a contract at $220,000 and a 50/50 profit share,” Reitz told the commission.
The commission also briefly continued its discussion of possibly raising the parcel fee from $65 annually.
In other budget business, the commission held a closed session with its negotiators to discuss the previously announced health care overpayments. Afterward, President Jeannine Charles-Stigall announced that no action had been taken.