Tandem meetings of the Turkey Creek fire board and township yielded approval of two budgets Monday evening.
At the first meeting, the fire board considered Syracuse/Turkey Creek Fire Chief Mickey Scott’s proposal for the department’s 2015 budget, whose $1,565,661 total came in only 2.1 percent over the 2014 amount.
Most of the line items remained unchanged or registered only slight increases. The real jumble of numbers appeared in the items related to the 77 PERF program the department signed onto earlier this year.
Participation in the state funding mechanism is expected to save over $31,000 in FICA and Medicare payments, and should result in a yet to be calculated dip in insurance costs. Conversely, PERF payments and physical examination costs will rise over the coming year.
Increases in gas and oil, garage and motors and utilities were proposed to accommodate anticipated inflationary challenges.
The department has demonstrated judicious spending this year. With one half of the calendar year elapsed, the department has used less than one-third of its allotted funds.
Scott stressed the need to replace the department’s 12-year-old ambulance in 2015, and requested $165,000 to acquire the new vehicle. With other long-term enhancements (building improvements, asphalt, gear and radios), Scott’s request totaled $210,000.
By law, the operations budget and equipment replacement fund were considered separately. Both components received unanimous support.
In the second meeting of the evening, the township board approved both the fire territory budget and trustee Barb Griffith’s proposed budget for 2015. She is requesting just over $200,000 for operations.
Both boards approved a $400,000 tax levy for 2015 to help defray the costs of the fire territory, including its plan for vehicle and equipment replacement. Though the township board approved the levy unanimously, the vote was split 3-2 among the fire territory board members, after a motion to impose a $312,000 levy was defeated by the same count.
In other business, Scott reported that in June his department responded to 15 fire calls and 91 EMS calls. To date the department has answered 91 fire calls and 536 EMS calls, a total of 627 emergency runs since Jan. 1.
Scott announced that lightning during the severe weather on July 1 damaged the control board for the backup generator at the emergency radio repeater. A neighboring residence near the generator also sustained electrical damage.
No injuries were reported in the fire territory as a result of the July 1 storm, though some streets and roads had to be barricaded to protect citizens from downed power lines.
Construction on Station 1 is continuing, with personnel preparing to move to the new second floor living quarters. Asphalt has been laid on the station’s north side to facilitate rainwater drainage away from the building.
The department’s annual pork chop and chicken barbecue fundraiser, held July 5, was a success, according to Scott. “We would like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who came by and purchased chicken, pork chops, or corn on the cob during this event, or provided donations to our department,” he said. “We feel that the support of our department by our community is great and we thank you for that.”