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Revenues, expenses drop in amended MFPD budget


December 14, 2005 - An amended 2005 budget that decreases projected revenues by more than $4.5 million and anticipated expenditures by nearly $2.5 million was adopted last week by the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors.

The Board of Directors voted unanimously Friday morning to adopt the amended 2005 budget that projects total expenditures of $20,243,727 with anticipated revenue of $20,970,627 — a surplus of $726,900. The original budget, adopted in December 2004, projected total expenditures of $22,670,010 with anticipated revenues $25,560,319 — a surplus of $2,890,309.

"... The budget that was adopted back in this time last year, the changes that have occurred from that point to as recent as the last board meeting have been incorporated into this budget amendment,'' Comptroller Jeff Geisler told the board. "The 2005 original budget included the Proposition S tax in-crease of 33 cents, and since we did not levy or take the 33 cents from Proposition S, the budget is therefore — I would label it as extremely inaccurate because of those revenue streams and the expenditures that were programmed that were going to be implemented as a result of that tax levy ...''

District voters in November 2004 approved Proposition S — a 33-cent tax-rate increase designed to address the fire district's needs for the next five years. The 36.5 percent tax-rate increase was formulated by the Fire District Advisory Com-mittee for Tomorrow's Emergency Ser-vices, or FACTS, during a two-month public engagement process that involved about 100 district residents.

But the Board of Directors in August established a "blended'' tax rate of 86.5 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, electing not to apply the 33-cent tax-rate increase.

The board voted 2-1 to establish the tax rate with Chairman Aaron Hilmer and Treasurer Bonnie Stegman in favor and Secretary Dan Ottoline opposed.

Regarding the amended 2005 budget he presented to the board, Geisler said, "... I think this gets us a lot more accurate and on target than what was originally adopted in light of all the changes.''

He also said another budget amendment may be required later this month.

Among the changes incorporated into the budget amendment, by fund, are:

• General fund — Revenues and transfers decreased by $2,857,453 to $12,025,009 from $14,882,462. Expenditures decreased by $1,367,518, to $11,882,556 from $13,250,074. A surplus of $142,453 is anticipated.

• Fire apparatus reserve — Revenues and transfers increased by $287,600 to $902,200 from $614,600. Expenditures de-creased by $548,710 to zero. A surplus of $902,200 is anticipated.

• Capital projects reserve fund — Rev-enues and transfers decreased by $486,200 to zero.

"This was a fund that was going to be funded by the tax increase. So that fund will be abolished ...,'' Geisler said.

• Sick leave reserve fund — Expend-itures increased by $202,400 to $423,100 from $220,700. Despite the deficit, an es-timated fund balance of $1,609,565 is anticipated on Dec. 31.

"This, in effect, was the result of additional staffing changes, from individuals retiring through attrition, etc.,'' the comptroller said regarding the increase in ex-penditures.

• Death benefit reserve fund — Rev-enues decreased by $407,968 to a negative $392,968 from $15,000. Expenditures decreased by $26,000 to zero.

"This is predominately the result of go-ing to insurance from Standard Insurance for our life insurance policy, thereby eliminating this fund and distributing that money back to the general and ambulance fund,'' Geisler said.

• Ambulance fund — Revenues and transfers decreased by $529,554 to $6,218,752 from $6,748,306. Expenditures decreased by $718,679 to $5,361,984 from $6,080,663. A surplus of $856,768 is anticipated.

• Alarm fund — Revenues and transfers decreased by $687,625 to $33,621 from $721,246. Expenditures increased by $2,500 to $624,087 from $621,587. De-spite the deficit, an estimated fund balance of $1,015,728 is anticipated on Dec. 31.

• Pension fund — Revenues and transfers increased by $76,809 to $1,982,977 from $1,906,168. Expenditures increased by $27,224 to $1,951,999 from $1,924,775. A surplus of $30,978 is anticipated.

After Geisler outlined the changes in the amended budget, Ottoline asked, "So the pension fund is going to increase in money? Is that correct?''

Geisler replied, "Well, according to the budget, it will not be deficit spending for the year.''

Ottoline said, "Well, according to your figures here, there's approximately a $50,000 increase.''

Geisler said, "Roughly a $31,000 surplus for the year, but the thing that we have to, I guess, keep in mind is that this will not be as pretty of a picture for 2006 because that $30,000 surplus is supported by $107,000 that was given to it by the general and ambulance fund. So if you would remove the operating transfer provided by those funds, it would actually be at a roughly $80,000 deficit.''

Ottoline asked Geisler how he arrived at his calculations.

The comptroller explained, "You have to consider what the surplus or deficit was before these changes, and then you would take that number, add the revenue change, add the expenditure change and then come down to that number. That number's a $31,000 surplus for the year, but included in that surplus, as I said, is $107,000 that was donated from the general and ambulance fund.''

Ottoline said, "According to what I read, you've got an increase of $76,000. Cor-rect?''

Geisler said, "Correct.''

Ottoline continued, "And an increase in expenditures of $27,000.''

Geisler said, "Correct.''

Ottoline continued, "That's $50,000 surplus.''

Geisler said, "That's correct. But the original budget that was adopted showed roughly a $20,000 deficit. So add a $20,000 negative to those changes, it will get you to your $30,000 surplus.''

Ottoline said, "But there is an increase?''

Geisler said, "Correct.''

The board then voted unanimously to adopt the 2005 budget amendment.

The original 2005 budgeted projected a 21.5 percent increase in expenditures over fiscal 2004.

The original 2005 budget projected expenditures of $22,670,010 — up from 2004's amended budget of $18,651,834 — while revenues were anticipated to reach $25,560,319 in 2005 — up 24.3 percent from 2004's $20,563,508.

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