Saturday, December 29, 2012

Fire Tax Increase = 5 % PAY INCREASE

A public hearing was held 27 Dec. for the first "Truth" hearing for the 80% Tax Increase for the Fire District SSD.    Perhaps the most interesting thing found was the acknowledgement of a FIVE percent pay INCREASE for all employees of the Fire District.   This had been rumored for a month or so, but not heard by many (any?) citizens who attended most of the meetings. 

That proposal was verified that the elusive budget passed 19 Dec included the pay 5% increase.  For comparison other Wasatch County employees reportedly received a raise of 2%.

Most average residents (and taxpayers) have received NO raises in recent times - many have taken pay CUTS, but they will be privileged to pay additional taxes is the 80% tax increase is approved at the second Hearing in July or August

Here are few other items we may have learned, had confirmed or forgotten.

  • No one on the Council (aka Fire Board) can tell us WHEN they approved the Tax INCREASE
  • They also don't really know when they approved the budget (12/19, after the TnT Notice) - or which one
  • They think the public hearing for the fire SSD budget was on 12/5, or maybe 11/29 or 12/6 thru 12/26
  • It definitely wasn't 12/27, but a few budget items of discussion did sneak in
  • The $892K in "bad debts" (2010) will eventually be collected - and credited to the Fire District
  • There is in the budget a 5% pay raise for all fire employees
  • I apparently does not include the Fire Board
  • It may, or may not, include the chief
  • The budgeted (expected) tax revenues decreased from $815K in 2012 to $750K in 2013 - but they actually expect $815K or more.
  • If (when) the tax increase is approved, they WILL be able to spend it
  • The Budget has not change since November except for a few numbers
  • Some of the numbers may be "0's" which don't mean anything, wait that's the fed budget
  • The Timberlakes Fire Station is in operation
  • Of the $2.7 M in readily available money as of 12/31/11 most of it (or all of it, or more) has been spent
  • The tax increase will not occur until the Nov 2013 payments, but will be spent earlier in the year.
  • WCFD has cash to cover the budgeted deficit of $500K this year
  • Legal fees in the budget were reduced from $300K to $257,913.53 but may go down, or may go up
  • There is a new account for $86,500 for a buying fire apparatus, but nothing specific as it all costs more, but $86.5 sounded like a nice down payment
  • The proposed increase could be up to 80%
  • The Heber Fire station is too small, more room is needed for training, which will raise, no decrease, the ISO number.
  • No, they could not possibly use the empty rooms at the Rec Center or the Council chambers or any other public building.
  • In 2015, if they collect bad debts, increase the tax and assessment and creeks rise, they may be able to finance a training session in Hawaii
  • 80% increase of what, mil levy, tax or budget?
  • WCFD has very nice website and is willing to add whatever is requested (and we don't know how much extra it costs, because we didn't ask, but wordpress is free, as for labor???)
  • ISO is the most important factor in determining insurance costs
  • ISO is the least important factor in determining insurance costs
  • Some people's insurance has already gone up, because ISO went to 10
  • Insurance policies have different rates
  • mil rate is more important than the amount of taxes paid
  • mil rates vary from year to year
  • As the mil rate has gone down since 1913, taxes have not gone up except on the taxpayers
  • Those entities with a higher mil rate pay more taxes, except for those with lower assessment
  • Everyone was very friendly, except for a few pointed barbs
  • There may have been more fire employees that citizen cynics -  perhaps 47%

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