South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

South St. Louis County News

St. Louis Call Newspapers

Fire district officials, board discuss premises to develop 2014 budget

Approval of final 2014 budget slated for December meeting

Premises to help formulate the Mehlville Fire Protection District’s preliminary 2014 budget were discussed last week by the district’s Board of Directors.

Chief Brian Hendricks told the board Aug. 7 that work is beginning to formulate the district’s preliminary 2014 budget.

“… I’d like the board to give some thought to any procedural issues, any acquisition issues, anything that we do that can assist us — your thoughts, your concerns, your questions of how perhaps we can make the process better when we go through building the budget for 2014 …,” Hendricks said.

Chief Financial Officer Brian Bond told the board that the district’s 2013 tax rates will be presented to the board in September for adoption.

“… The preliminary budget is what will be used to establish the tax rates the board wants to fix for the year 2013 …,” he said, noting the board will consider approval of a final 2014 budget in December.

The district’s current “blended” tax rate is 70.7 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The 2013 budget projects revenues of $20,145,683 with anticipated expenditures of $19,363,775 — a surplus of $781,908.

Regarding revenues and transfers for the preliminary 2014 budget, Bond said no voluntary reduction in tax rates is anticipated.

“… We’re looking at transferring the same amounts that we transferred in 2013,” he said. “That would consist of $1.4 million that would be transferred from the general tax levy to the capital fund, as well as $350,000 from the general fund to the pension fund.

“And that would be used to address current year shortfalls, as well as begin to reserve as much as $300,000 per year for future underfunded disability payments.”

Regarding expenses, Bond said the district’s staffing needs will be evaluated to determine if any additions are necessary.

Funding for unscheduled overtime will remain at $500,000.

“This will allow us to address the current unscheduled overtime utilization necessary to operate the sixth ambulance,” Bond said.

“Rough estimates” for employee benefits include a 20-percent increase in medical insurance premiums and a 5-percent increase in dental and vision premiums, according to Bond. The actual amount of premiums will be known before the approval of the 2014 budget, as will the cost of workers’ compensation premiums.

A 20-percent increase in workers’ compensation premiums is anticipated.

For capital expenditures, $650,000 will be included for the purchase of a pumper and $170,000 will be included for the purchase of an ambulance, Bond said.

“… I’d like to begin putting away some amounts in reserve, $150,000 for apparatus replacement, as well as $150,000 for any future engine house renovations the board might like to make in the upcoming years …,” he said.

Regarding the premises, board Secretary Ed Ryan said, “… I do agree we need to look at funding the pension fund … That seems to be there.”

In response to a question from Ryan about future engine house renovations, Hendricks said by reserving $150,000 for the next two years, the district will have $300,000 that can be used for that work without dipping into reserves.

“… In essence, we’re saving to pay for it in cash at that time,” he said.

By consensus, board members indicated their agreement with the premises for the preliminary 2014 budget.

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