Idyllwild Fire Protection District firefighters spent three hours in a fundraising effort in the village center on Saturday, Oct. 22,  and raised $2,485 for the Idyllwild HELP Center food bank, according to Emily Pearson, longtime chair of the food bank drive. Pearson estimates that with the firefighter effort, there will be around $4,000 available to fund food purchases for the HELP Center for the holiday season. “What a wonderful job,” said Pearson. “The most I’ve ever had in the past was $2,500. We’ve never had a group in the past step up to fundraise at this level.” Photo courtesy of Emily Pearson
Idyllwild Fire Protection District firefighters spent three hours in a fundraising effort in the village center on Saturday, Oct. 22, and raised $2,485 for the Idyllwild HELP Center food bank, according to Emily Pearson, longtime chair of the food bank drive. Pearson estimates that with the firefighter effort, there will be around $4,000 available to fund food purchases for the HELP Center for the holiday season. “What a wonderful job,” said Pearson. “The most I’ve ever had in the past was $2,500. We’ve never had a group in the past step up to fundraise at this level.”
Photo courtesy of Emily Pearson

The Idyllwild Fire Protection District’s first-quarter budget ended in a deficit, but this is typical for the first quarter of the fiscal year, according to Monday’s finance committee report. IFPD does not begin to receive property tax revenue from the county until mid-December.

Revenues have been slightly more than $400,000 in the first quarter, of which about 87 percent has been derived from ambulance services and reimbursement for mutual-aid fire support (fires off the Hill).

For the first quarter, IFPD’s expenses have been about $480,000, of which nearly 80 percent has been salaries and benefits. Some of those costs are attributable to sending crews to fires off the Hill.

However, one employee’s overtime is noteworthy. In regular overtime pay (exclusive of overtime for non-district fires), Battalion Chief Mark LaMont has earned nearly $13,400 in the first quarter. This is more than the total overtime for the rest of the department.

Including the mutual-aid (non-district fires) overtime, LaMont’s total overtime during these three months has been almost $27,750, or 135 percent of his regular pay of $20,750 for the period. The rest of the staff has earned about $25,000 in all from time at mutual-aid fires.

Legal costs have been about $10,700, less than 20 percent of the budget for fiscal year 2016-17. Fire Chief Patrick Reitz said he expects no surprises and the legal costs are back to normal in the near term. IFPD is in an ongoing legal battle with former Capt. James Reyes.

While the finance committee did not have complete financial reports, Reitz told Committee Chair Calvin Gogerty that the accounting consultant Rob Dennis had been working to bring the new system up-to-date for use this fall.

“Our hope was he would be ready for the October financial meeting and have the first quarter done. He is very close,” Reitz said.

And Commissioner Nancy Layton, also a member of the committee, said they are still looking for two more members.

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