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The Lake News Online
  • GFPD cuts spending for 2014

  • The Gravois Fire Protection District is reporting cuts in proposed spending for 2014 after an initial outlook showed a deficit in the proposed budget of $47,000.
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  • The Gravois Fire Protection District is reporting cuts in proposed spending for 2014 after an initial outlook showed a deficit in the proposed budget of $47,000.
    The final budget approved by the board of directors at a special session meeting Dec. 30, however, was balanced at $880,102 with expenses slashed in categories to build savings for replacement of firefighting and rescue equipment - which will need to be replaced in the next nine years - and vehicle and equipment maintenance as well as the suspension of out-of-area conferences and training.
    According to Fire Chief Ed Hancock, the cuts are due to a hit in property tax revenue following the stagnation of new construction and devaluation of property value in a poor economy along with the constantly rising cost of motor fuel, utilities and in general all materials the department uses to maintain day-to-day operations.
    A major concern for the administration of the district is the instability of the insurance market, especially in health care as a result of the Affordable Health Care Act and the escalating cost of health care.
    There has been a 40 percent increase in health care costs over the last two years along with an increase in workman’s compensation insurance, according to Hancock.
    "The district is working to find a solution to the health care costs and to keep all costs under control so that we are not forced to reduce the level of service we are able to provide to the residents of our district," he said.
    All of the revenue for GFPD operations comes from taxes on real estate and personal property from the residents of the district. They receive no monies from other sources. The state regulates the property tax rate the district is allowed to levy. Annual increases, not including new construction, are limited by the Consumer Price Index.
    The Consumer Price Index for 2014 was 1.7, which correlates to a 1.7 percent increase in revenue and $16,000 for the district.
    With much larger increases in expenses, such as insurance, the additional revenue did not keep up with the increased operating costs from inflation, Hancock said.
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