Also serving the communities of De Luz, Rainbow, Camp Pendleton, Pala and Pauma

NCFPD approves 2022-23 budget

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

The North County Fire Protection District board approved the 2022-23 NCFPD budget.

The board’s 4-0 vote Sept. 27, with Jeff Egkan absent, adopted a $30,470,954 budget which includes deposits to reserves, capital improvements, and contingencies. “We do have a balanced budget for this year, which is good,” said NCFPD Fire Chief Keith McReynolds.

The revenue includes money from the fire mitigation fee which is paid by developers to fund the cost of fire department facilities serving the new development. Because the funding is used for capital improvements, it is not required to be spent in a particular fiscal year, so the 2022-23 expenditures actually exceed the planned fiscal year revenue of $22,581,465. The 2022-23 budget forecasts mitigation fee revenues of $541,200 while the district expects to spend $7,222,350 on facilities and other capital improvements.

“We are throwing a little bit of money for facility upgrades,” McReynolds said.

Another $1,045,000 will be transferred to reserves for facilities and other capital improvements. “We were still able to contribute a little bit of money into our reserves this year,” McReynolds said.

A $100,000 expenditure for contingencies is also part of the budget. The reserve balance (including restricted funds) will decrease from $17,858,317 to $11,951,628 if actual expenditures match budgeted amounts.

Property tax payments are the fire district’s primary source of revenue, and total property tax revenue increased 4.79% over 2021-22. The $18,409,842 of 2022-23 property tax revenue does not include assessments for community facilities districts, which are included in a landowner’s property tax bill and will provide another $175,000 of revenue.

Ambulance fees, fire prevention fees, wireless communication facility lease agreements, interest, and grants including Fallbrook Regional Health District money account for most of the rest of the revenue.

NCFPD employees were given a 4.6% pay raise, so expenses for salaries and benefits are expected to rise from $15,709,564 to $17,851,004. Operations and maintenance expenses are expected to increase from $3,553,888 to $4,252,600.

Last year, the district budgeted $225,000 for fuel costs and only spent $211,209. The balance allowed the 2022-23 fuel budget to remain at $225,000 despite the increase in fuel costs.

The capital improvement expenses in the 2022-23 budget include $2,000,000 for Station 3 in Rainbow and $353,000 for Station 2 in Winterwarm. Debt payment is included under facilities expenses and includes $235,700 for Station 5 in Bonsall, $85,750 for the administration building on Main Avenue, and $48,000 for solar energy generation facilities. The planned capital expenditures also include $2,484,200 for emergency vehicles, $280,000 for staff vehicles including a shop truck, $155,000 for alerting equipment, and $75,000 for engine equipment.

Two positions under personnel expenses were not part of the 2021-22 budget but are included for 2022-23: an administrative battalion chief and a deputy fire marshal. The administrative battalion chief will be responsible for training.

 

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