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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 7 July 2019  

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  FFPD October board meeting
  By Robin Widmar

   The Falcon Fire Protection District Board of Directors held its regular monthly board meeting on Oct. 17. All board members were present including Richard Shearer and Joan Fritsche, legal counsel for the district.
   Treasurerís report
   FFPD Fire Chief Trent Harwig reported that the fiscal year was 75 percent complete as of Sept. 30. The general fund had received 97 percent of its anticipated revenue, while expenditures were 67 percent across all categories.
   Reserve standby hours
   Harwig reported that reserve firefighters logged 646 standby hours in September. There were no station brownouts.
   Incident statistics
   FFPD responded to 237 calls for service in September, an 18.5 percent increase over September 2017. As of Sept. 30, FFPD had responded to a total of 2,023 calls in 2018, which represents a 12.1 percent increase over the same period in 2017.
   In September, 55.6 percent of calls for emergency medical services and traffic accidents resulted in at least one person being transported by ambulance. Between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, 54.7 percent of EMS calls and traffic accidents resulted in at least one ambulance transport.
   2019 budget
   Harwig presented the board with the preliminary budget for 2019. He said this budget does not take into account the results of the November election. However, he has been working on alternative budgets that will be ready if voters approve the districtís mill levy ballot initiative. The preliminary budget does take into account the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant, which will partially cover expenses for nine firefighter/emergency medical technicians. (The board has not formally accepted this grant pending the outcome of the November election.)
   Without the mill levy increase, Harwig estimated that the district would have to spend about $100,000 more than it receives in the first year of the grant. The district would have to dip into its reserves to cover that expense. Harwig said if the mill levy does not pass, the district will have to determine whether it can support the expenses associated with the three-year SAFER grant.
   Highlights of the 2019 preliminary budget include adding a new engine as part of scheduled fleet replacement; salaries and benefits for additional firefighters; a 3 percent cost of living increase for current firefighters; training for new recruits; personal protective equipment for new firefighters; buildings and grounds expenses including repair and repaving of the Station 3 parking lot; and replacement of 13 aging automated external defibrillators that will no longer be supported by the manufacturer as of April 2019.
   Harwig also noted that all of the departmentís self-contained breathing apparatus must be replaced in 2020, which will cost an estimated $350,000. He said the district will continue to seek grants to offset the costs of replacing the AEDs and the SCBAs, but those expenses must be considered in the districtís budget.
   The districtís budget hearing is Dec. 12. Harwig said the board can modify the budget as much or as little as necessary before then to accommodate mill levy and grant considerations.
   The 2019 budget is posted at the districtís administrative office and is available for public review.
   The board has rescheduled the November regular board meeting to Monday, Nov. 19.
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