Selectmen reduce fire budget by $85K
By Cristina Kumka
STAFF WRITER | November 30,2012
The Killington Select Board reduced a $91,800 budgeted increase for the town volunteer fire department down to $6,800 after moving expenses into the General Fund and on to the ballot for town voter approval.
The original proposal called for a 33 percent increase year over year, from $276,637 in 2012 to $368,437 for 2013.
Selectman Jim Haff orchestrated moving $10,000 out of the new equipment line item for the replacement of dry hydrants destroyed by Tropical Storm Irene into the town’s “Flood” recovery expenses that were not reimbursed by the federal government.
That would mean the expense would be paid out of undesignated funds, or savings, in the General Fund with voter approval, reducing the increase in the fire department’s budget.
Select Board Chairman Chris Bianchi said voters would need to have the final say on how any of the town’s reported $1 million in undesignated money is spent.
Haff suggested, and the remaining two members of the board and fire representatives agreed, that voters should decide if they wanted to add $75,000 to the department capital reserve fund for the replacement of fire trucks and the item is expected to be put on the March ballot in a separate article.
The town has committed to adding about $100,000 into the capital fund next year, considered a town expense, but the department was asking for more.
Haff said he would feel more comfortable allocating more to the department’s capital fund after 2016, when a debt payment on the town-owned golf course goes down more than $200,000 to about $395,000.
By the end of 2013, about $300,000 is expected to be in the fire department reserve fund, according to Town Manager Seth Webb.
Fire representatives also said money is being put away for an architect to come into the Killington Road firehouse and assess whether it can be a combined emergency services building with the Killington constables.
To make more revenue for the department, Haff proposed the department use a 2010 town ordinance that allows it to bill back insurance companies for responding to car accidents in town.
The rate, according to Haff, would be $200 for every hour for each truck at the scene and a certain amount per hour for each firefighter on scene.
“It’s a source of revenue,” Haff said. He estimated the department could make $24,000 a year to put toward its budget.