Budget Message: Fiscal Year 2024
To: Board of Commissioners, Smith County Emergency Services District No. 2
Respectfully, I am submitting the proposed Fiscal Year 2024 Budget for Smith County Emergency Services District No. 2. The budget represents the end product following many staff hours of careful review and consideration of budget requests from all departments, weighed against anticipated financial resources for the coming fiscal year. Our primary goal in this budget is to reflect the district’s unwavering mission and commitment to protect life and conserve property in our community as evidenced in our preparedness to respond promptly and effectively to emergencies including fires, medical incidents, motor vehicle accidents, natural disasters, and other hazardous situations.
THE BUDGET IN BRIEF
We project revenues of $24,622,292, representing a 24% increase over the adopted budget projections for the previous fiscal year. The largest component of this increase can be attributable to additional sales tax revenue.
The proposed budget has total appropriations of $27,020,292. The major individual appropriations include $13,509,836 towards staffing expenditures, $7,097,456 towards operating expenditures, and $6,413,000 towards capital expenditures. Due to several large capital projects being undertaken the coming fiscal year, total appropriations are expected to exceed projected revenues. This has been planned for and will be covered by appropriating an additional $2,398,000 from previously accumulated capital reserve fund balances.
Total employment for the district entering FY2024 is budgeted at 146 full time employees. This represents an increase of 56 employees from the beginning of FY2023 and may be broken down as follows: 38 full-time employees will have been added gradually during FY2023 with an additional 18 full-time employees planned to be added early FY2024. This total addition of 56 full-time employees is almost exclusively the result of recruitments of additional full-time emergency responders in line with the districts commitment to enhancing 24/7 first responder staffing throughout the district's response area.
The district is faced with several competing resource demands which may be summarized as follows: 1. Provide an equitable distribution of first responder capabilities throughout the district's service area. 2. Attract and retain qualified employees in an increasingly competitive labor market. 3. Update and refresh an aging portfolio of fire stations, fire apparatus, and technology infrastructure. 4. Enhance further the capabilities in terms of medical first response as a result of the rural nature and geographic dispersion of the district's response area.
The FY2024 proposed budget reflects several key policy initiatives that will shape our financial priorities for the year ahead, attempt to address the resource demands as outlined above, and contribute to a safer future for all constituents. The highlights are:
Policy Initiative 1: Strengthening & Maintaining First Responder Staffing Levels
Our first priority is to sustain the boost in the number of full-time emergency first responders who serve our community. We recognize their vital role in being able to successfully fulfill our mission, so we've allocated resources to maintain the increased number of fulltime trained personnel compared to last year. This increase of staffing levels will improve our response to emergencies, ensuring the safety all constituents as well as the conservation of property.
Policy Initiative 2: Enhancing Employee Compensation and Retirement Benefits
To attract and retain qualified, contributing employees, we aim to offer competitive retirement benefits and compensation packages. Our employees deserve recognition for their dedication, and we want to acknowledge the sacrifices they make daily to protect life and conserve property in our community.
Policy Initiative 3: Acquiring Land and Constructing New Fire Stations
As our community grows, we must adapt to meet its needs. That's why we've allocated funds for acquiring suitable land and constructing additional fire stations. These strategically located stations will improve response times, ensuring timely help reaches every corner of our geographically dispersed jurisdiction. The locations were identified in collaboration with the long range advisory committee and were presented to the board in a strategic planning workshop in the spring of 2023. Most immediately, we're thrilled to announce the construction of the Jamestown Fire station, which will enhance emergency response capabilities for Jamestown and its surrounding areas.
Policy Initiative 4: Acquiring New Fire Apparatus and Equipment
We are dedicated to upgrading our firefighting equipment, replacing old apparatus with new, reliable fire engines. This ensures our first responders have effective tools to carry out their duties safely and efficiently.
Policy Initiative 5: Procuring Lucas Devices for Life-saving Measures
The safety and well-being of our constituents are top priorities. As part of our commitment to cutting-edge emergency services, we are investing in advanced life-saving devices known as Lucas Devices. These devices, soon to be carried by our first responders, will significantly improve the chances of survival for those facing cardiac emergencies.
Community Partnership and Transparency
Collaboration with our community is essential for successful governance. We encourage all constituents to engage with us in shaping budget decisions and policies. Transparency is at the core of our approach, and we promise to provide clear and accessible information about our financial decisions, making sure your voice is heard in the budgeting process.
FY2024 is the first year where the district is using a multi-fund financial reporting structure; having employed a single fund for all activities in previous years. As such, to provide full transparency, we have provided below a combined summary of revenues, expenditures, and changes in fund balances.
Combined Summary of Revenues, Expenditures, and changes in Fund Balances
The table below provides a high level summary of the the transfers amongst the various funds.
Consolidated Multi-Year Summary of Revenues, Expenditures, and Changes in Fund Balances
The table below provides a high level summary of the revenue and expenditure development over recent years.
As we embark on this new fiscal year, we do so with a sense of responsibility, compassion, and determination. Together, we will continue building a safer, stronger, and more resilient community. Your trust and support inspire us to lead with dedication and integrity.
With sincere appreciation to our elected commissioners, fire chief & department heads, staff, and volunteers, I am pleased to present this proposed budget for FY2024.
Erik J. Edstrom
Smith County Emergency Services District #2