At Monday night’s Fire Board meeting one agenda item was a quick look at budget numbers. The current fiscal year ends on June 30th. Staff presented the board with three scenarios, the best, the worst and the probable.
The District is projected to start the next fiscal year with a reserve of $3,341,380.
Revenue projections for property tax next fiscal year are to remain the same as this year. This has been a risky assumption in the past few years with dropping property values. The County’s Assessor, Gus Kramer, has a history of aggressively lowering assessed values. This assessment is generally released after June 30. The assumption being made for the next fiscal year is that the assessed value will remain same as the current fiscal year. Nearly 100% of revenues come from property taxes. The estimated total revenue, including the RDA pass through and CFD Funds, is $8,491,564.
The 2010-2011 staffing model is 6 stations; 4 stations staffed with 3 Firefighters and 2 stations staffed with 2 Firefighters, with a total of 48 Suppression Personnel, Administrative Staff of 5 and the Cal-Fire contract. To maintain the current service model for the next fiscal year, expenditures are estimated at $11,208,199. To provide this service model, the District would need to use $2,716,635 of its reserves, leaving $624,745 in reserve. Providing fire services beyond the 2011 – 2012 fiscal year, without a revenue enhancement, becomes problematic. This leads us to scenario number two – the worst.
The worst case scenario assumes that there are no additional revenues beyond the projected $8,491,564 and that staffing and services are based solely on revenues, the reserve is not touched. This balanced budget approach would require significant cuts in both manpower and stations. This service model would only support 3 stations staffed with 3 Firefighters, with a total of 29 Suppression Personnel and an Administrative Staff of 5. This staffing model would match the projected revenue of $8,491,564. This service level would cancel the Cal-Fire contract, increase response times, increase the insurance rating, and rely on Auto/Mutual aide to provide day-to-day emergency responses.
There is no way the district could survive in this scenario. Each station would be required to cover 85 square miles, distances to vast to provide appropriate coverage. Many locations within the district could see ISO ratings rise to level 9 or 10 and an accompanying 30-45 percent increase in insurance premiums. A level 10 rating is achieved when a building is located further than 5 miles from a fire station.
The final scenario includes additional revenue in the form of a Fire Suppression Benefit Assessment. If the assessment, a weighted $96, is approved by the voting property owners it could provide up to $4,000,000 of new annual revenue to the District. In this scenario a staffing model could be provided as; 6 stations, all staffed with 3 Firefighters, with a total of 54 Suppression Personnel, Administrative Staff of 7 and the Cal-Fire contract. This enhanced staffing model expenditures are estimated at $12,045,558, leaving $446,006 available for other uses or adding to the Fund Balance. This scenario would obviously providing funding beyond the 2011-2012 fiscal year.
There is lots a work ahead in the coming months. Join us the first Monday of each month at Oakley City Hall, City Council Chambers, 3231 Main Street, Oakley.