The Turkey Creek Township Fire Territory Board approved the 2013 operations and equipment replacement budgets during its regular monthly meeting Thursday night.
Fire Chief Mickey Scott told the board the proposed budget reflected a 3 percent increase in salaries with an overall increase of 4.44 percent. The majority of the increase reflects expected increases in health insurance and workman’s compensation. The fire territory’s health insurance agent told Scott to expect a 12 percent increase in health insurance next year. The proposed operations budget is $1,462,276.
The equipment replacement budget was approved for $400,000. It was noted the department works its fleet as tight as possible.
The recommendation for 2013 would allow the department to replace a 22-year-old equipment truck for $250,000 and to have approximately $120,000 on hand for renovations to Station I. Scott noted there have been no cost estimates given for the renovation to Station I.
Scott and assistant chief Howard Birkel explained the company that built the equipment truck in 1991 is out of business and parts are hard to find. The truck is used by firefighters for rehab during fires and to get families out of the weather during a fire. Currently the air conditioning and heat on the truck do not work and there are electrical issues as well.
Board members Brad Jackson and Bill Dixon discussed using funds currently in the account. Dixon pointed out using portions of the $1 million currently in the account could potentially bring it down so low, the fire territory would be left vulnerable to having to get a bank loan if a tax disbursement is late.
Scott advised the board to not allow the equipment replacement fund fall below $311,000 or the territory wouldn’t be able to replace trucks in the future.
Renovation plans for Station I are expected to be presented at the August board meeting.
It was announced that the Federal Communications Commission is working on legislation that will require a change to the department’s licenses for emergency radio frequencies from narrowband to digital. A final date for conversion has not been chosen yet.
Most of the department’s base radios, mobile radios, portable radios, radio antennas and repeater will have to be changed over as they are not digital compatible.
The county burn ban is still in effect until July 17. Open burning of any kind using conventional fuel such wood or other combustible matter is prohibited. The town of Syracuse has an ordinance banning the burning of yard waste.
For complete coverage of this meeting, see the July 18 issue of The Mail-Journal.