Wednesday, April 18, 2018 (Brookville Star) - Fire funding explained for Brookville - 2nd in a three part series
(by Jeff Requarth, Clay Township Trustee)
Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of informational columns supplied by the Clay Township Trustees concerning the upcoming 3.5 Mill levy for fire protection services. The issue will be on the May 8 primary ballot. Any opinions expressed by Mr. Requarth are not those expressed by the Brookville Star.
The information in this article was supplied by the city of Brookville.
The funds that support the Brookville Fire Department operating and capital improvement comes from several sources such as the Clay and Perry Township Fire/EMS levies, EMS billing and the General Fund.
The revenues generated by the Clay and Perry Township Fire/EMS levies are distributed 60 percent to Brookville, 35 percent to Phillipsburg and five percent to Verona. Brookville and Phillipsburg provide fire and EMS services and Verona fire services to the residents and businesses located in Clay Township.
Seventy-five percent of the fire/EMS levies are receipted into Brookville's General Fund toward the Fire Department operating budget and twenty-five percent is receipted into the Fire Capital Fund toward capital purchases in the Fire Department. Fire/EMS levy revenue is not used to pay for the new fire station.
Ninety percent of the EMS billing funds are receipted into the General Fund toward the Fire Department operating budget and ten percent is receipted in the Fire Capital Fund.
The Brookville Fire Department operating and capital budgets should be fully funded from Fire/EMS levies and EMS billing. The Brookville Fire Department operating budget has been supplemented with other General Fund money for the last six years.
In 2008, the Brookville Fire Department operating expenditures totaled $661,938 and in 2017 their operating expenditures totaled $962,098, and increase of $300,160 or 45.3 percent.
The increase is due to increased personnel, ongoing maintenance costs and operating materials and supplies.
In 2008, the city of Brookville receipted $351,854 in Fire/EMS levies and $272,596 in EMS billing into the General Fund, which totals $624,450.
The General Fund supplemented the Brookville Fire Department Operating budget by $37,488.
In 2017, the city of Brookville receipted $381,998 in Fire/EMS levies and $395,731 in EMS billing into the General Fund, which totals $777,729. The General Fund supplemented the Brookville Fire Department operating budget by $184,369.
Fire/EMS levy funds have remained flat over the last 10 years. EMS billing increased somewhat, and this is due to the call volume increasing over the last 10 years. In the last five years, the Brookville Fire Department call volume increased by 31 percent. In 2013, the Brookville Fire Department responded to 1,552 calls, and in 2017 they responded to 2,032 calls.
Staffing for the Brookville Fire Department has changed over the years. Prior to 1995, the Brookville Fire Department employed volunteer, or paid-on-call personnel. In 1995, the department hired part-time personnel that worked Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., which supplemented their volunteers. In 2006, the department added a two-person weekend medic crew to the part-time program. In 2009, the department increased their weekend medic crew to four, which gave staffing for both EMS units and an engine crew. In 2010, staffing was adjusted to give them a Friday night crew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. on Saturday.
In mid-2012, the Brookville Fire Department transitioned away from the volunteer program and went to part-time staffing 24/7. In 2013, when the Affordable Care Act to effect, they had to limit their part-time employees to working 30 hours or less per week. With this cut in hours worked, the Brookville Fire Department had to hire additional employees to cover the 24/7 shifts.
The Brookville Fire Department personnel have increased training and education requirements to comply with the Insurance Services Office and National Fire Protection Association.
In addition to providing Fire and EMS services to the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Clay Township, the Brookville Fire Department provides a smoke detector program, and ongoing maintenance and flow testing program on fire hydrants and fire hose testing and maintenance.
The Brookville Fire Department has a Capital Improvement Plan that shows the need to replace fire and medic apparatus, replace personal protective (fire-fighting) equipment, a cardiac monitor and a chest compression device over the next five years. The cost of these capital items is very significant.
The closing, the need for increased revenue is necessary to maintain current service levels without cutting services elsewhere in the City. The funds that present and futures Fire/EMS levies provide go toward the Brookville Fire Department operating and capital equipment needs. The levy funds do not go toward the retirement of bonds for the new Fire Station.
Next week the column will contain information on Phillipsburg's Fire and EMS and Verona's fire funding needs.