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Fire district budget prepared for 2021-22 posted on 06/01/2021

Hoodland Fire District (HFD) Fire Chief James Price presented a draft budget for the 2021-22 fiscal year to the district’s budget committee during a May 18 Zoom meeting. The draft budget was approved for adoption by the committee without a need for a second scheduled meeting.

“This year’s budget saw no significant changes in the things that cost the most, such as personnel,” Chief Price said. “We’re returning the training budget to where it was in 2018, providing funds for FIREWISE preparation in the community, and are able to put some funds in reserves.”

For the July to June budget year of 2021-22, HFD will have a permanent tax rate of $2.6385 per $1,000.00 of assessed value and $0.25 per $1,000.00 of assessed value for the local option tax levy.

The draft budget is an increase of $888,573 from the 2020-21 budget. New expenses are dependent on potential grant awards of $637,778, as well as an anticipated increase of three percent in property tax revenue.

The 2021-22 budget funds several projects including FEMA grant funds for two new firefighters through the SAFER Act, grant funds and matching district funds for protective gear, replacement of living quarters and a generator at the Welches station, FIREWISE community efforts and an increase in the general funds unappropriated and Disaster/Contingency funds.

HFD came under scrutiny in 2020 after a Special Districts Association of Oregon (SDAO) organizational assessment detailed “significant financial and operational challenges unique to your community and district,” including a lack of required financial audits for the past three years.

The SDAO report stated that the district could require further financial support in the form of a general obligation bond in the future to cover the cost of new fire apparatus and building improvements.

Chief Price credited Interim Fire Chief Steve Abel for completing audits for the three years during his tenure in 2020 and stated the district is working to resolve the issues presented by the SDAO regarding the district’s finances and personnel management.

“The district is trending in the right direction,” Chief Price said. “We were able to put some funds in reserves. We have to climb out of some difficulty; it’s an ongoing process.”

The proposed budget will be published for public review by June 9. A final vote on the budget will take place at the Tuesday, June 22 board of directors meeting. The HFD board of directors cannot vary appropriations by more than 10 percent in any fund without returning the budget to the committee for approval.

More information, including a draft of the proposed budget, is available online at https://www.hoodlandfire.us/2021-2022-hfd-draft-budget.

By Ben Simpson/MT





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