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CKFR reviews its preliminary 2005 budget

The 2005 Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue budget won’t be finalized until December, but in the mean time the board is reviewing the preliminary budget and making various changes.

The draft shows a budget of $11.8 million, but this number will be modified as the fire commissioners make revisions. It shows a revenue subtotal of $9.7 million for 2005 with $2.1 million in carry-forward funds used to supplement revenues to equal the $11.8 million budget.

Although this preliminary budget will be changed and is not set in stone, CKFR Chief Ken Burdette has seen a pattern of revenues only increasing by 1 percent and expenditures increasing by much more and sees a need to reduce expenditures.

When the commissioners reviewed the budget on Monday, there was a consensus that one way to save money would be to reduce overtime expenditures.

For 2005, the board would like to decipher what is considered training and what is overtime. CKFR will try to carry this out by what Burdette calls “a balancing act of managing staffing.”

Burdette says CKFR doesn’t need to go to the voters until there is a need to increase revenue. He would rather not go to the voters, but will have to in order to maintain service. Burdette doesn’t see that happening until 2005 or 2006 and can’t be sure of an exact date because the budget needs to be reviewed more throughly.

“We want to share (the budget) with the community and talk about it openly,” he said. “We are trying to present a budget that is honest and reflective of what we’re spending and trying to be prudent, to make sure we are spending dollars wisely.”

The final draft will be presented at November’s commissioners’ meeting and final approval is expected in December.

Also on Monday, the commissioners unanimously passed a resolution to establish a new resident program to replace the Firefighter In Training (FIT) program. The FIT program ended on Aug. 15 and a committee comprised of an assistant chief/operations, two labor representatives, two volunteer battalion chief, two volunteer lieutenants and one volunteer station captain have recently developed preliminary guidelines and general rules for the the new program which went into effect yesterday at Station 64 on Chico Way.

Volunteer residents, who respond to fire and medical calls in exchange for a room at the fire house, must have at least one year of volunteer firefighter/emergency medical technician experience.

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