Revenue down at fire district
Sheridan Fire Board moves money around, preparing for shortfall
By Marguerite Alexander
Correspondent, The Sun
With interest rates low, a delay in the receipt of user fees, a decrease in call volume and a three-month gap before the anticipated arrival of property taxes, the Sheridan Fire District board of directors voted on Monday to move $60,000 from a certificate of deposit to the Local Government Investment Pool just in case it is needed between now and November.
Although the expenditures for the 2009-10 fiscal year fell well within the amount budgeted, income for the year did not come it at the level anticipated. Fire Chief Wade Davis attributed that to a delay in the district’s receipt of ambulance user fees.
Davis explained that the billing company used by the district moved its office, delaying some billing. Additionally, the district did not always get billing information submitted in a timely fashion. That revenue, however, is now coming in, he said.
Ambulance transports, which generate nearly one-third of the general fund revenue, are also lower than in previous months. In the past 120 days the number of ambulance transports was down 30 percent, Assistant Chief Bill Alguire told the board.
Property taxes also play a key role in the fire district’s cash flow. The district receives 29 percent of its general fund budget from property taxes with a local option tax for apparatus replacement bringing in an additional 8.5 percent. Like other public organizations, there is a gap between the beginning of the fiscal year in July until the influx of revenue in November when taxes are collected.
In spite of the temporary budget constraints, Davis remains optimistic. “We are holding our own financially,” he told the board.
Davis recommended transferring the money from the Certificate of Deposit to the LGIP until December when the district had more dependable numbers as the result of the taxes coming in. The current CD is due to mature this month. Interest in the LGIP is currently 0.55 percent and the renewal rate for a 10-month CD is 0.3 percent.