MFPD board approves budget with surplus totaling $552,000

Health insurance cost for fire district increases by $50,457 in 2015

The Mehlville Fire Protection District conducted training on this retired school bus in October.

The Mehlville Fire Protection District conducted training on this retired school bus in October.

By Mike Anthony

The Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors voted unanimously last week to adopt a 2015 budget that projects a surplus of more than $552,000.

The 2015 budget anticipates revenues of $19,569,952 with projected expenditures of $19,017,591 — a surplus of $552,361.

In September, the Board of Directors discussed a preliminary budget and voted to establish a 2014 “blended” tax rate of 71 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

Projected revenues for the coming year remain unchanged from the preliminary budget, while anticipated expenditures decreased by $5,000.

The district’s 2014 budget projects revenues of $19,526,014 with anticipated expenditures of $18,898,706 — a surplus of $627,308.

Chief Financial Officer Brian Bond told the board that since the preliminary budget was presented to the board, the district had received final numbers for workers’ compensation premiums and insurance premiums.

The district’s workers’ compensation premium decreased by $15,000 to $567,000.

For medical insurance, the board voted to name Anthem the district’s health insurance carrier, switching from Coventry.

The 2015 premium is $1,210,000.

In a memo to Chief Brian Hendricks and the Board of Directors, District Clerk Carla Juelfs wrote, “The renewal is much lower than expected at an increase of 5.26 percent, which is an additional $50,457 for the 2015 year over the 2014 rates.

“The plan design remains the same as current with the exception of the prescription co-pays that do not come into play until after an employee has reached the first $6,000 deductible. The new co-pays are $10/$35/$60. In 2014, they are $12/$30/$55.”

For dental insurance, the board retained the district’s current carrier, Aetna Dental, at an 8-percent increase, or $8,356. For vision insurance, Humana Vision’s rates are the same for 2015 as they were this year.

“… In terms of revenues and transfers, the tax rates that were approved in September of 2014 included no voluntary reductions and will generate approximately $16.5 million in tax revenue, which is a $93,000 increase over the prior year’s budget,” Bond told the board. “Other revenue sources remain essentially flat. A small decrease of approximately $49,000 of all the other revenue sources is anticipated for 2015 over 2014.”

For 2015, slightly more than $1 million will be transferred to the capital fund for capital expenditures, including $650,000 for a pumper, $186,000 for an ambulance, $100,000 that will be reserved for future construction and $400,000 that will be reserved for the future purchase of fire apparatus.

“In addition, we’re also going to transfer $350,000 to the pension fund to address current-year shortfalls and begin to establish $250,000 a year in reserve for future disability payments,” Bond said.

Regarding expenditures for 2015, the cost of employee salaries will increase by $124,000, due to step increases, “but there are no other pay increases,” the CFO said.

Unscheduled overtime will increase by $150,000 — to $700,000 — next year to reflect the current unscheduled overtime utilization necessary to operate the district’s sixth ambulance.

In addition, a total of $289,000 will be used for debt service on certificates of participation issued in 2000 to fund the expansion and renovation of the district’s No. 5 firehouse and administrative headquarters.

“The other expense categories have been determined based upon rolling three-year averages, current-year forecasts and expenditures and also specific itemized needs for next year,” Bond said. “So, kind of in summary, the 2015 budget forecasts that the 2014 tax revenues will provide $93,000 more than the prior year, offset by the reduction in the other revenue sources of $49,000, results in a net increase of total revenue of $44,000 over the 2014 budget.

“In addition, the 2015 budget also forecasts a $119,000 increase in total expenses over the 2014 budget.”

Of the projected $552,000 surplus in the 2015 budget, Bond told the board, “(A total of) $257,000 will reside in the pension fund to fund future disability payment obligations, $267,000 of that will reside in the alarm fund to address unidentified future dispatching-released expenses, $17,000 will reside in the capital equipment fund to address future capital expenditure projects and $11,000 will remain in the general fund to address any unforeseen expenses or unidentified needs that may arise in 2015.”