During its March 27 meeting, the Idyllwild Fire Protection District commission set a workshop next month to look at revenue sources, approved two new polices and revised an existing policy.

Reporting for the commission’s ad-hoc committee on parcel fees and a possible tax measure, Commissioner Henry Sawicki provided his colleagues with a brief summary of the committee’s thoughts and findings.

“[These are] suggestions on what might be beneficial to get a parcel fee approved,” he said.

For example, the committee recommended that to achieve a successful tax measure, efforts such as public education should begin a year in advance. Measure W, which was on the November 2016 ballot, received a majority vote, but tax measures require approval of two-thirds of the voters.

The committee also strongly recommended a better explanation of how the new revenue would be used and why it was needed.

The commission decided to schedule a work-study meeting on May 31 to review the committee’s proposal, and discuss what actions might be productive and their timing.

“It’s an opportunity to hear what kind of service is expected on the Hill,” agreed Commissioner Jerry Buchanan. “It’s not just a push for board action. We’ve got to do a better job getting what we do out there so the whole community knows what’s going on.”

In other financial matters, the commission reviewed the current fiscal-year budget and approved mid-year changes.

The current budget status is very positive. Through the end of February, the IFPD budget had a slight negative balance, about $24,000, with four months of the year remaining.

The second receipt of property taxes and parcel fees will be received in May and the balance of the mutual aid reimbursements should also be received before the fiscal year ends on June 30.

The major adjustments were an increase for serving in a high number of mutual-aid incidents, and, therefore, salary and benefit expenses for the staff involved. The commission made several other smaller changes, such as $9,500 for new uniforms and $13,500 for reimbursing a coordinator with Riverside County for the emergency medical services program.

The commission also took action on three proposed policies. The Cellular Telephone Usage policy was revised to cover all electronic devices.

Policy 3121 was unanimously approved to establish a reserve fund for the district. Buchanan drafted the policy, which is effective this month.

The district will set aside 15 percent of all income from mutual-aid incidents and 3 percent of all receipts from ambulance services for the reserve fund.

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