Fire Board increases annual budget for 2019

Derek Kilbourn

Sounder News

Wednesday, October 17 2018

The Gabriola Fire Protection Improvement District Board (Fire Board) has approved a $669,480 budget for 2019, with an increase of $7,000 over 2018.

According to Board Treasurer Sandra Rudischer, there will be very little change from last year’s budget - other than an increase for training, from $20,000 to $25,000, and an increase of $2,000 for firefighting equipment.

Fire Chief Rick Jackson said the increase for training is due to the number of members being trained. The department was training around 30 people last year; this year they were closer to having 40 members trained.

The Budget Subcommittee is made up of Jackson and Rudischer, along with Board Chair Mark Noyon, and Chief Administrative Officer Paula Mallinson. Mallinson explained the line in the budget for “training salary” is zero, as the wages for the training officers is bundled into the line for duty officers.

Rudischer said the budget committee did discuss increasing their capital reserve back up to $200,000 from $150,000 from the last budget.

“We decreased it last year due to an increase in other lines...but we have $650,000 in the capital reserve fund now,” of which $200,000 of that reserve is earmarked for a complete upgrade of the department’s SCBA gear.

Truck #5 is due for replacement in 2020, which Mallinson said will cost roughly $500,000.

Rudischer said if the new truck is ordered next year, the Board will pay for it in 2020.

$650,000 is in the reserve now; SCBA will put it down by $200,000 in 2019; $150,000 will go back into the reserve with the 2020 budget, and then the new #5 will be purchased for $500,000, still leaving $100,000 in the capital reserve at the end of 2020.

Truck #9 is the next up for replacement, in 2029. With the increase in firefighting equipment, Jackson said that as of October of this year, the department is already over budget. “We had a lot of hose failure this year - almost $8,000 spent on hoses.”

Sandra said that, “all in all, I think this is pretty darn good - increasing [the budget] by just $7K, I think taxpayers can be happy.”

Chair Noyon echoed her saying, “we don’t want to be an excessive burden on the taxpayers.”

The Board is also working on a plan to hire a new fire chief, though there has not been a date announced for Jackson’s official retirement.

The Board has been looking at job descriptions from other fire departments as they prepare for a hiring process.

Board Chair Mark Noyon suggested they have a hiring subcommittee.

Trustee Wilf Caron said he believed that all of the Fire Trustees should be on that committee. Rudischer said she believed there should be input from the current Chief on that as well.

“He knows better the details of what the job entails.”