Volume No. 18 Issue No. 1 January 2021  

  FFPD approves 2021 budget

     The highlights of the Dec 9 meeting of the Falcon Fire Protection District Board of Directors focused on construction projects and the approval of a $12.4 million budget for 2021.
   2021 budget
   The $12.4 million budget is broken down into four areas: the general fund, capital projects, ambulance transport fund and rural water system fund. The general fund will support five fire stations, three staffed and two unstaffed; 12 fire response vehicles, three command vehicles, two support vehicles and one fleet maintenance vehicle; 30 paid full-time and nine part-time firefighters; 15 volunteer reserve firefighters, as well as various administrative and supervisory personnel. The capital project fund supports structures, grounds, a lease purchase of one new administration building and one fire station; plus office equipment, firefighting, medical and personal protective equipment, vehicles and debt service for the station 3 lease payment. The ambulance transport fund supports three ambulances, one reserve ambulance, nine EMTs, nine paramedics, one division chief and one command support vehicle. The rural water system provides support for a water cistern system. About 75% of the budget goes for salaries and benefits and contains a 4.1% cost-of-living increase.
   The vast majority of revenue for the budget comes from property taxes. The amount of tax a person pays is calculated by multiplying the assessed property value by the mill levy. The board set the mill levy at 14.886. The remainder of the revenue comes from items such as development fees, donations, reimbursements, grants, special ownership taxes, interest, lease purchase revenue and ambulance transport fees.
   Board member resignation
   Board member Joan Hathcock, who was absent, sent the board a letter of resignation effective Dec. 31. At their January meeting, the board will take action to fill that vacancy.
   Finance report
   Chief Trent Harwig informed the board that as of the end of November, 92% of the year had passed. The general fund had received 100% of anticipated revenue. Across all categories in the general fund, expenditures were at 86%. The ambulance transport fund was at 93% of revenues and 66% of expenses. Capital projects were at 101% of revenues and 38% of expenses. The reason for the 101% is that the original budget had to be increased slightly to compensate for the lease purchase agreement. The reason for the small expenditure is that only a small amount of budgeted construction had been done in 2020. Most of the capital projects’ revenues will be rolled over into 2021 to pay for ongoing construction of station 3 and the new administration building. The rural water fund was at 98% of revenues and 21% of expenses. “We should be slightly over in revenues and slightly under in expenses,” Harwig predicted of the year's end.
   Board member Tom Kerby asked why the ambulance transport fund was considerably less than the amount budgeted for expenses. The chief said the budget included three ambulances, their crews and operating expenses for the entire year. However, the third ambulance was not placed into operation until later in the year. There were 88 ambulance transports in November and 132 volunteer standby hours. The average response time for all calls was 9.37 minutes.
   COVID 19 precautions
   EMS Division Chief Jon Webb reported that he was taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID 19 among firefighters. Some stations were wearing masks. Firefighters were asked to stay home if they had a fever. He said there could be no large gatherings of firefighters and no donations of food from the public.
   Construction plans
   The board discussed the construction schedule for station 3. They learned that the foundation is in for the building and the contractor is trying to get the shell of the building completed before winter sets in. The finishing date is predicted to be July 2021. In a construction-related item, the board ratified a $65,000 draw to Hammer Construction for completed concrete work and excavation.
   2021 meeting dates
   The board set their meeting dates in 2021 for the third Wednesday of each month, except for the months of September, November and December. For those three months, the meeting will be held on the second Wednesday.
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