Spending down for Lee fire district

Published Oct 11, 2017 at 4:00pm

TOWN OF LEE — A slight spending decrease and an anticipated decline in the local tax rate are part of the Lee fire district’s proposed 2018 budget.

The $298,394 spending plan is down from the 2017 budget of $298,501, said town Board of Fire Commissioners Chairman Patrick Hetherington.

The budget is supported by local property taxes that included a 2017 rate of $26.46 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

Hetherington noted the tax rate is “a function of the total assessed value of the properties in the town which the fire district has no control over.” But he added the rate is anticipated to go down, due to increased total property value value in the town based on new construction, and “coupled with a marginal decrease in budgeted spending” by the fire district.

A public hearing on the budget proposal will be Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m. at the Lee Center firehouse, 5643 Stokes-Lee Center Road. The commissioners board expects to vote on it by the end of this month, said Hetherington, adding it must be submitted to the town by Nov. 7.

Much of the budget involves expenses relating to the Lee Center Volunteer Fire Department, which is overseen by the board as part of its management of fire protection in the town. The fire district also has a $21,500 contract with the independent Lake Delta Volunteer Fire Department covering the town’s southeast portion.The same allotment for the Lake Delta department is in the 2018 budget proposal, said Hetherington. Among some budget highlights:

• Equipment expenses up about $16,000, including planned purchases for new vehicle extraction tools;

• Insurance costs down nearly $4,000;

• Medical supplies up about $1,600; and

• Workers’ Compensation spending down $2,630.

• The equipment and repair reserve allocation was reduced by $9,300 to offset other planned equipment purchases.

Preparation of the budget included the Lee Center department preparing a list of requirements, said Hetherington. Commissioners “infused those requirements into the budget model and made necessary adjustments without compromising readiness or safety,” he remarked.

“Constant attention was given to the fact that the funding comes directly from the taxpayer and every planned expense must pass the value-to-the-resident test,” Hetherington added.