Fire District Budget Proposal Brought Forward

The proposed budget for the fiscal 2024-2025 year was on the forefront of the budget committee meeting that was held prior to the fire board meeting Tuesday, May 21.

Fire Chief Nick Tyler presented this proposal, noting the budget reflects an overall increase of $1,282,144. The budget summary is as follows: 

  • Personnel Services including benefits increased by $1,468,900
  • Materials and services increased by $340,625
  • Debt service was not used again, and the LOC was set at $250,000
  • FireMed/Ambulance Revenue increased by $100,000 with it projected to be $1,500,000

During the meeting, the district also broke down their divisions and the funds spent into each. The biggest division, by cost, was the Wildland Division. This is a new fund starting July 2024 that will employ up 15-20 seasonal employees and five full time employees. The total expenditure in the Wildland Division Fund is $1,165,000. It is said this fund is a very exciting addition to the district’s financial picture. Once this program is fully implemented, it is forecasted to be financially self-sustaining.

The other divisions highlighted proposed increases. The Administrative Division Fund showed an increase of $77,819 to a proposed expenditure of $2,200,120. The Ambulance Division Fund increased $21,000 to a proposed expenditure of $125,000, and the Emergency Service Fund showed an increase of $399,325 to a proposed $2,364,000. 

Tyler recognized a seismic retrofit grant for Station 23 in Crawfordsville totaling $1,230,000. This was recognized in the Special Fund.

“That’s exciting,” committee budget member Kevin Strong said. “If memory serves me right, that’s the third seismic grant the fire district has received. In total, that’s millions of dollars that you’ve saved the tax payers in making our facilities safe.” 

Tyler noted there were issues in applying for this grant, but in total, the grants fund is $2,597,000. The SHFAD continues to explore every possible grant, as these help fund many improvements and programs in the district.

Another topic that was highlighted during the meeting was what the district has accomplished. The addition to the shop was completed as well as the seismic construction project at Station 22. The Rosenbauer Wildland Urban Interface Engine was delivered and the final costs were paid out of budget. The district replaced an outdated compressor. The union contract had two wage openers, one in July of 2024 and the other in July of 2025; the district and the union were able to reach an agreement and settle those openers. Jessica Swanson was hired as a part time office assistant. The bond measure 22-203 was placed on the ballot for voters to vote upon. 

The accomplishments also went over the six different conflagration fires that district personnel responded to in the summer of 2023. The responses led to an unanticipated revenue of $161,469. In preparation for the upcoming fire season, the district and the Oregon Department of Forestry have signed several agreements allowing ODF to order resources faster. This will allow the district to recover costs spent on local fires. 

In conclusion, the goal of the board of directors, volunteers, full- and part-time staff is to proudly serve, honor and sacrifice daily for the safety of the residents of the Sweet Home Fire and Ambulance District.
“I can proudly say that all members of the district continue to meet this goal,” Tyler said. 

In other business:

  • Zach Lincoln brought forward a continued discrepancy with the board.