Last week’s story told of Idyllwild Fire considering mortgaging the people’s fire house to not only pay for two ambulances and station improvement projects, but increasing salaries and benefits.
Building reserves within a budget to deal with emergencies, such as the brush truck’s engine failure, seems wise.
But spending $90,000 on what appeared to be a whim for ambulances not budgeted isn’t sound. At the time of the purchase, the board assumed it would be successful in securing a loan. It wasn’t. A wiser decision? Secure the loan first, then go seek ambulances. Even wiser? Budget the ambulances, secure a loan and then purchase the vehicles. Plan for what you can plan for. I’m sure other used ambulances in the country would have turned up.
Discussions of more station improvements raise questions also. What happened to the private money the community donated to fund that on the heels of the Mountain Fire? Why has there never been an accounting of that money when the commission promised it?
Let us see this accounting before you vote to mortgage our fire house.
Finally, salaries and benefits? Really? That’s operating expenses. That’s like refinancing a house to pay the electric bill.
Maybe business loans often provide funds for salaries for start-up companies, but not mortgages.
Adding an ongoing expense of paying back a loan to justify increasing salaries? Does that make financial sense?
If you care, demand to know. It’s your fire house.
If you don’t show up to the meetings and complain, this board seems determined to mortage your fire house. You voted in the board; make them accountable.
Becky Clark, Editor