Few new changes in 2009 fire district budget

Wednesday, August 20, 2008 | 9:24 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA - The Boone County Fire Protection District approved its 2009 budget in a public hearing at Wednesday's board meeting.

"There is not a great deal of change in the budget," Fire Chief Steve Paulsell said.

The tax levies, which determine how much Boone County taxpayers are charged for fire protection district services, were set at a total of 0.7394 cents per $100 of assessed property. This amount is reached by combining three separate components. The main fund, set at 0.5929 cents per $100, and the dispatch levy, set at 0.0283 cents per $100, remain the same as last year. The bond retirement fund, set at 0.1182 cents per $100 by the state auditor's office, is slightly lower than last year's level.

Changes to the budget from last year include an increase of $30,000 to pay for higher fuel costs and an extra $5,000 for building maintenance.

A new budget line of $79,000 was added for "health and fitness." Board Chairman John Gordon said more than 50 percent of firefighter deaths nationally are a result of heart conditions. This new category will go toward paying for physicals and improved fitness for employees of the fire district.

"I think the fire district has done a good job on holding the line on increases for 2009," Gordon said. "We have some big items we have to look forward to."

In another action, the board recognized about 15 volunteers from Station 8 who helped raise about $5,000 for the Central Missouri Dream Factory.

The board also unanimously approved the following actions:

Purchasing 300 safety vests at $25 each to meet new federal requirements to improve visibility for those working near highways.

Authorizing the staff to auction two Crown Victoria vehicles with about 200,000 miles and engine troubles.

Authorizing the chief to advertise two employment positions vacated by fire district members leaving for jobs on Columbia's Fire Department.

Paulsell reported the fire district logged about 17,000 hours of service and responded to 398 emergency calls in July.


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