Letter: What did they do with the funds?

keyboard, letter to the editor

To the Editor:

Failed referendum, yet nonelected fire district board approves 8%-plus raises 10 days later that includes the chief’s newly approved raise and contract (his annual salary went from $155,821 to $179,849) and ambulance fees that recently went up from $1,800 to $3,000, including a $17.50-per-mile charge.

Last year, the ambulance fees alone raised over $1.7 million, which should be close to $3 million this year. Between our tax dollars and millions in extra revenues, why has equipment not yet been replaced? Equipment saves lives was the message from the fire district, yet no equipment purchases have been made.

Call volume is going up, revenues in tax dollars, [and] ambulance fees along with the police department calls and every other taxing body. It’s called growth and you need to plan for it. The only five-year replacement plan was from 2014-2019. During this time frame, they were to replace four ambulances, one engine, one ladder truck and four staff cars for the chiefs. Didn’t happen. So what did they do with the funds to buy replacement equipment?

They recently hired an outside company, Governmental Accounting Inc., which will cost taxpayers over $50,000 per year to basically run the department finances for them. Governmental Accounting contract language: “Our goal is to interpret fiscal policies and accounting standards, develop a budget and integrated plan of financial operation as well as maintain a complete accounting and reporting system to assist the board and management in making business decisions.”

Patrick Stiles