Story Tools

Date of Issue: September 02, 2009

$8.5 million fire district budget approved

The West Manatee Fire Rescue District board of commissioners at its Aug. 27 public hearing unanimously approved Chief Andy Price’s $8.573 million budget proposal for 2009-10.

Of that amount, $5.204 million is the district’s operating budget, while $3.369 million is capital reserve funding.

The total debt in the operating budget was estimated to be $264,784, as of Oct. 1, 2009.

Capital reserve spending will include $82,500 for new equipment and facilities, $530,420 is allocated to current facilities, including construction, and $380,000 is scheduled for debt service.

Revenues are projected to decline $640,000 or 10.95 percent in 2009-10, resulting in cut backs in several areas, including wages and benefits.

The $4.514 million allocated in the budget for wages and benefits is down 5.24 percent from the 2008-09 figure of $4.764 million. To make up the difference, Price said WMFR staff must pay a portion of certain healthcare costs.

In other business, Price said the company hired to study the district’s facilities found “a few things we didn’t like” during its facilities inspection.

The report is still in process and Price said as soon as the final product is completed and delivered to him, he’ll bring it to the board for in-depth discussion.

The study is also looking at the needs of the district for the next 20 years, Price said.

“We want to make sure you have relative information to make a decision” on what facilities need repairing or replacement.

Price also said that the motor on the WMFR fire boat is out of service and cannot be repaired. Until a new motor is purchased and installed, WMFR will rely on backup response from Longboat Key and Bradenton in the event a fire boat is needed for an incident.