The Idyllwild Fire Protection District ended the first quarter of fiscal 2014-15 in a negative balance. IFPD continues to rely on the proceeds from the sale of its cell tower a year ago to bridge the typical low revenue period from July to December.

Riverside County has already transferred to IFPD a $300,000 advance of the district’s December property tax revenue, which with the $120,000 in first quarter revenue provided $420,000 in revenue available this quarter, while expenditures were $480,000.

The difference is made up from the cell tower proceeds IFPD has not yet deposited in a reserve. Exacerbating the district’s cash flow problem is the lack of the county’s ambulance contract payment (for Pine Cove and north) of about $45,000 per quarter this year.

The committee also discussed its role in the district’s plan to refinance several existing loans as well as borrowing for new investments such as ambulances.

According to Committee Member Susan Weisbart, IFPD Capt. Mark LaMont recommended that exploratory calls to potential lenders come from staff rather than the committee.

In advance of any calls, Calvin Gogerty, committee member, recommended that the committee “identify what exactly do we want to borrow and why.” Currently, he said Fire Chief Patrick Reitz has been discussing refinancing the two current loans for fire trucks and new financing for acquiring two ambulances, two water tenders and an administrative vehicle.

He also said he concurred with LaMont that IFPD staff should begin to investigate potential lending sources.

He and Committee Chair Nancy Layton have several suggestions for funds following an event at Eastern Municipal Water District, where several sources, such as state and federal agencies, made presentations on the availability of funding and costs.