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September 21, 2012
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Truckee Fire board OKs 2012-13 budget

TRUCKEE, Calif. — The finalized 2012-13 budget for the Truckee Fire Protection District is $33,000 less in the red compared to preliminary projections, furthering efforts by officials to keep it lean.

Fire Chief Bob Bena told the board of directors Tuesday night the district’s budget went from being $176,000 over to approximately $143,000 over for 2012-13 fiscal year. The main reason is due to a “slight” increase in property tax revenue for the district, he said after the meeting.

“I think there is a bit of hope and optimism (with the economy); however, we choose to still stay in the negative 7 percent to be safe,” he said.

Being in the red acts as buffer for unexpected emergencies, Bena said.

“You can’t always know what your emergency every time is going to be,” he said. “... Let’s say we have a big fire or like two years ago, we had a significant propane issue on Donner Summit. That affected us, so this is really just a worse case scenario.”

A budget is just an estimate, Bena emphasized, that projects the amount of tax revenue that will go to the district along with other forms of income, such as payroll, employee benefits, equipment purchases and maintenance, building maintenance and training.

According to the budget, the district is projecting an income of $8.36 million, with $8.51 million in expenditures, and that shortfall won’t affect service levels or staffing, Bena said.

“Last year we started well in the red, and we brought it in right at neutral,” Bena said. “That’s absolutely the hope for this year.

“You plan for the worse and hope for the best.”

Members of the board complimented Bena and staff on how good the budget looked before voting to approve it.

“This looks much, much better than I was anticipating,” said board member Victor Hernandez.

At the end of the meeting, he later added: “You guys are making us look good because you guys have really learned how to be fiscally aware of what’s going on, so thanks to everybody from the top, down. You guys did a great job.”

To view the Truckee Fire Protection District’s final budget, visit: http://truckeefire.org/about_us/september_2012_agenda.

The Truckee Fire Protection District will participate in several training exercises in the coming months, Deputy Fire Chief Bill Seline told the board of directors, the first of which is a burning building exercise in Carson City. Two engines and 15 fire members will be sent down over a two-day period to participate.

“The nice thing about it is that it’s one of the better burn buildings around here,” Seline said. “They use real fire; they burn pellets so it’s hot and the firefighters seem to get the best training at that structure.”

The other events are scheduled for the beginning of October: Firefighter Bill of Rights and Rapid Intervention Crew training.

In 2007, California enacted the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act, which gives firefighters certain rights when disciplinary actions are taken against them by their superiors.

“We don’t get into those situations very often,” Seline said. “We have a good group of co-workers. Very occasionally do we deal with disciplinary actions.”

Ten Truckee Fire members will attend that training session, which is hosted by the North Tahoe Fire Protection District and held at the Squaw Valley Fire Department.

RIC training is meant to inform firefighters what to do when one of their own is in distress, Seline said.

“Every year in the United States about 100 firefighters are killed in the line of duty,” he said. “Many of those happen on fires, on rescues and out on the fire ground, so one of the things they have identified is that occasionally, when these things happen, the firefighters are getting trapped or are in situations where there some specific remedies. If a rescue team is available and can go in and perform some specific skills, that they’re able to perform better rescues and save people’s lives.”

A certified trainer from North Tahoe Fire will work with trainers from Truckee Fire to teach the training, followed by a two-day mandatory RIC training for firefighters.


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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Sep 21, 2012 11:35AM Published Sep 21, 2012 11:34AM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.