MFPD board begins work on preliminary ’15 budget

Fire board to set 2014 tax rates at meeting later this month

By Mike Anthony

The Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors recently began work on the district’s preliminary 2015 budget.

Chief Financial Officer Brian Bond told board members that the district’s 2014 tax rates will be presented to them in September for adoption before Oct. 1. At that time, the board will consider approval of a preliminary budget. A final budget will be presented to the board for approval in December, Bond noted.

“… I just wanted to talk about the material premises that will be used to develop the preliminary budget,” he said. “With regard to revenues and transfers, we’ll be developing the budget without utilizing any voluntary reductions in the tax rates …”

The district’s current “blended” tax rate is 70.8 cents per $100 of assessed valuation. The 2014 budget anticipates revenues of $19,526,104 with projected expenditures of $18,898,706 — a surplus of $627,308.

“We’ll be transferring $1.2 million from the general fund to the capital fund to address capital expenditures in the year 2015 … And like last year, we’ll also transfer $350,000 from the general fund to the pension fund to address the current-year shortfalls in the pension fund and also continue to reserve $300,000 per year for future underfunded disability payments,” Bond told the board Aug. 20.

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

“In regards to unscheduled overtime, we’ll keep that at $550,000 to address the current unscheduled overtime utilization that’s necessary to operate the sixth ambulance,” he said.

For employee benefits, Bond is forecasting a 10-percent increase in medical insurance premiums and a 5-percent increase in dental and vision premiums. The actual amount of premiums will be known before the approval of the 2015 budget, as will the cost of workers’ compensation premiums.

A 10-percent increase in workers’ compensation premiums is anticipated.

For administration, general overhead, professional fees and other expenditures, Bond said, “We’re going to evaluate those and determine them based upon a rolling three-year average, look at current-year forecasted expenditures and also compare that information to itemized needs for 2015. They’re specific only to that year.”

In addition, debt service “will be budgeted in accordance with the debt-service schedule on certificates of participation issued in 2000 to fund the expansion and renovation of the district’s No. 5 firehouse and administrative headquarters.”

For capital expenditures, $500,000 will be included for the purchase of a pumper, $180,000 will be included for the purchase of an ambulance, $100,000 will be reserved for apparatus replacement and $100,000 will be reserved for future engine house renovations, Bond said.

Chief Brian Hendricks said, “… What we’re trying to do is just start a dialogue with the board and you can think about what we presented here — take this and come back and talk about it at the next meeting …”

The board is scheduled to meet at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, at the district headquarters, 11020 Mueller Road.