The Red River Fire Board continues to deal with financial issues due to rising costs of fuel and other items purchased. Another contributing factor is maintenance that had been deferred in past years. And a change in paying firefighters for professional certifications earned will also have an impact on the budget.
Board Accountant Kylie Shaw discussed amendments the board will have to make to the budget prior to the end of the year to bring it in line. The cost of fuel has increased considerably since the current budget was adopted. Another issue raised by Chief John Woodfin is maintenance. He said many of the tires on the trucks are 12 years old and are at the end of their life. There is money in the budget to replace some of the tires and at present all of his budget for repairs has been spent.
The department had applied for a $650,000 grant to cover firefighter pay. Board Secretary Rachael Long said that had been denied. Shaw said this is another budget adjustment that will have to be dealt with.
The board decided to include dive certification in the pay scale for firefighters. Recently the board adopted an additional $25 per month pay for firefighters with certain professional certificates. The list of certifications was modified to include certification for divers. Several of the current firefighters are certified divers.
The board made one budget amendment at the September meeting. They added $10,000 to the maintenance budget. This would allow the chief to purchase new tires needed for all vehicles. The maintenance budget was increased to $40,000.
During the discussions it was noted by Board Accountant Kylie Shaw that she still expected the department to end the year with approximately $350,000 surplus. Final budget amendments will be made at the November board meeting.