The Board of Commissioners for the Idyllwild Fire Protection District last week approved a final budget for the fiscal year 2014-15, which began July 1.
The budget has a projected net surplus of nearly $175,000. Estimated revenues will grow 10 percent to $1.9 million. The greatest surge is that expected property tax revenue will grow nearly $160,000, or 14 percent.
Expenses are only $18,000, or less than a half percent more than 2013-14, for a total of $1.7 million.
Staff salaries and benefits are $1.3 million (78 percent) of the expenses, which Fire Chief Patrick Reitz said, “… is 4 to 6 percent below the national average.” However, he confirmed that this budget assumes vacancies during the year and does not fund the full firefighter career staff of nine employers and himself. For example, a replacement for former Capt. James Reyes will not be selected soon. Reitz had earlier said he planned to have a full staff before the end of the fiscal year.
In August, IFPD received the $300,000 advance of its property tax receipts, which was requested in June and the Board of Supervisors approved at the end of July, according to Reitz.
He also thanked the public for “stepping up and funding the station’s remodeling.”
Commissioner Nancy Layton reported that the Finance Committee is reviewing possibly refinancing the district’s debt. As part of the refinancing package, the committee is investigating the cost of new ambulances and a utility vehicle, as well as paying off the medical equipment loan ahead of its due date this winter.
Reitz requested that the committee also consider adding the cost of IFPD’s unfunded benefit liability in the loan amount. This is CAL PERS’ estimate of what the district owes for pensions in order to be actuarially balanced for the future.
Fire Engineer Mike Yount will retire later this month, Reitz announced. Yount has been a member of the fire department for 23 years.