05/22/07 350 W, 4 I - + 11 - 19 Proposed County Budget, Fire

The proposed FY08 budget for Wake County was released yesterday. The budget document web page is divided into chapters, with each chapter as a PDF document. Unlike a municipal budget, this one requires a bit of decoding. Fire department operating expenses are listed in the Special Revenue Funds chapter, under Fire Tax District. It notes with minimal per-expense line-item detail:

Issues for FY 2008
The number of active volunteers continues to decline, and most fire departments are experiencing volunteer member shortages.
Analyze potential station closure for Western Wake Fire Station #2 and negotiate coverage with Cary Fire Department if station is closed.
Refine staffing and facility sections of Long-Range Business Plan.
Analyze how departments use full-time, part-time, and volunteers to staff; determine if most cost-effective staffing patterns are used.

Horizon Issues
The decline in volunteers and the increase in service demand is leading to a transition to increasing reliance on career personnel.
Evaluate and, if approved, incorporate additional capital needs into Long-Range Business Plan. Such needs include new stations, service trucks, and breathing apparatus.
Monitor and analyze impact of municipal annexation on fire service demand; Analyze how annexation plans affect fire tax district as a whole, and individual departments.

Fire department capital expenses are listed in their own Capital Improvements sub-chapter. There's a spreadsheet that lists totals for 800 MHz Radios, Brush Trucks, Heery Improvements, Large Apparatus, New Stations, etc. The totals for Station Replacement include the amounts for the Bay Leaf Station 1 replacement and the Garner-area station in FY2010. Curiously, neither appears to be labeled as such. There's precious little summary information in the CIP section. Are either of these stations/projects mentioned by name ANYWHERE in the budget document? Very interesting.

Fire/Rescue Division operating expenses are listed in the Public Safety chapter. They note FY08 and horizon issues relating to inspections, training, and administration. There's also a page of service-level measurements.

The Budget Highlights chapter includes a Requests Not Funded section. Too bad those Fire Tax-funded requests that didn't make the cut, such as staffing, are not or could not be listed there. Might raise awareness.

Anyone know where the new station will be located and which department it will be operated by?
Gooch - 05/22/07 - 12:21

When will the county wake up and answer the needs of the citizens and the fire service? Staffing is the main issue here, and yes 4 fire departments lay within city limits, but before we close them lets look at beefing up staffing, possible station relocations. Is it going to ntake a brother or sister getting killed to realize the severity of the staffing issue? if so, at least I know the group whose hands will be bloody….(will the fire commission and county commissioners please stand up)
concerned WCFirefighter (Email) - 05/28/07 - 22:23

The adopted budget: http://www.wakegov.com/budget/fy08/
Legeros - 06/26/07 - 18:51

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