The five member Mid County Protection District board spent their Saturday morning discussing ways to balance the upcoming year’s budget. After district voters did not approve a tax levy increase in November, the board has resorted to cutting items out of their budget.
The work session began with Chief Scott Frandsen walking the board through his recommendations.
“All I was hoping for out of today’s meeting was to give you something to chew on,” Frandsen told the board.
Frandsen’s budget considerations included reducing staff work hours, offering t-shirts as uniforms versus the current collared shirts, begin charging for meeting room use at Station One, decommissioning three of the district’s stations, discussing selling apparatus and more.
If the board chose to follow all of the chief’s considerations, the district could save around $92,500.
Much of Saturday’s discussion was focused on closing three stations and selling apparatus.
Board Chairman Charles McElyea told the board that he is not in favor in selling any of the district’s stations. Frandsen agreed and told the board that if the stations were sold, that would be a short term fix not a long term one.
“If we do decommission the stations, we need to keep them up,” McElyea said.
The discussion moved on to the idea of selling four different apparatuses. Inside the Frandsen’s considerations were the possibility of selling the Station 2 Fireboat 929, Station 3 Engine 931, Station 1 Tanker 915 and Station 2 Ladder Truck 927.
“It is not prudent to get rid of anything but we have to put this district in the size of the budget we have,” Fransden said to the board.
Much of the discussion about selling equipment focused on selling Station 2 Fireboat 929. Since the district currently has two boats, most agreed that selling one would still leave the district in a viable position.
Saturday’s meeting was simply a work session. The board did not make any decisions on what to cut.
“I want us to have a balanced budget for 2014,” McElyea said.
“Without having to go into reserve funds,” Board Member Rod Sederwall added immediately.
The work session ended with board members agreeing to submit ideas to the Fire Chief and Board Treasurer, Mike High, before the next board meeting set for Thursday, Dec. 12. The district must cut $116,000 from 2013 expenses in order to go into the 2014 budget year with a balanced budget.