Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Do you have an Individual Station Budget that you manage?

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Do you have an Individual Station Budget that you manage?

    I have been tasked with finding departments who have the individual stations manage their own budgets for supplies (ie sanitation, office supplies, maintenance, ect.). If your department does such a thing please let me know so I can fire off a few questions. Thanks for your help.

    Mike

  • #2
    We maintain our own Central Supply Division. Each Station Shift Commander fills out a Requisiton that is submitted to the CSD. This is our version of having our own Walmart.

    CSD (civilian work force under Assistant Chief) processes the REQ and in most cases the SC has the items within a few hours. We do not allow anyone to purchase anything outside of our system. It must always go through CSD.

    The STORE maintains the inventory just like a warehouse club. The difference is, you don't get to shop down the isles. You order from a list. Outside of approved staff, only Battalion Officers and higher are allowed in the Division Store.

    If a guy needs a replacement helmet, the SC orders it and it is delivered before lunchtime. If a new guy needs to be fittted for gear, the Equipment Officer comes to him at the designated location, sizes him then sends the gear back. This is efficient and cost effective.

    You already have a pretty good idea of what you will need each year. Does it matter when you spend the dollars?

    We estimate we save around 20%, including the salaries, by maintaining our own Store. We bid about 85% of what we consume. Disposable items like paperclips, toilet paper, sheets, towels, soap, detergent, motor oil, air filters, oil filters, etc.... is stocked based on historical data. We bid out The LIST each year. We know how much oil and the type of filters needed each year for each vehicle. We control our own fuel island and can even project within 8-9% how much fuel we will use. This holds up during a typical year of course, but not during a disaster. We know how many paperclips we are likely to use, how much toilet paper will be consumed, and how many sheets will become wornout.

    When you split your purchasing power, your money doesn't go as far. Why let each station do its own thing? Even if it a manpower issue, you can still use Centralized Purchasing . You just need a guy that understands inventory control and how to put a bid package together for every little thing you need. Then put it in a garage somewhere and assign someone to run the thing on a 'as needed' basis. Too many hands involved and things tend to grow legs and walk out the door.

    If we have a major vehicle or equipment breakdown, we trade the unit with a reserve if available. The dept mechanic handles the repair unless we need a specialist. The mechanic walks about 100 feet to a window, puts in his parts lists and it is delivered to the floor within minutes on stocked items. If he needs something that is not a stocked item, it is handled on a case basis. We have the equivilent of a parts hot-line for most items operated by a very talented young man. This is part of the other 15% we can't project. But we can still budget for it. It is much easier to guess 15% than it is 100%.

    I hope this gives you some ideas...
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

    Comment


    • #3
      We maintain our own station budget for tools, and equipment that we may need around the station. Our office, bathroom, and cleaning supplies are taken care of through other budgets.

      Comment


      • #4
        We, a single station combination (primarily volunteer) fire company, receive money from several sources. Like most volunteer fire companies in Pennsylvania we are a non-profit corporation and function within a corporate structure. The business of the company (separate from its operations) is run by a Board of Directors. We develop a budget based on needs and anticipated income.

        Within the company are various departments such as Fleet, Emergency Services, Building and Facilities, Career Staff (EMS) and several others. Each department is managed by a small committee with its own chairperson. Each department has its own responsibilities and budget. The committee is given a "spending resolution," that is, a limit to how much it can spend on any given item without going to the company's Board of Directors for approval.

        All expenditures are signed off by the cognizant committee chair and forwarded to the treasurer for payment. The treasurer then debits the committee's budget. The expenditures are entered in the Treasurer's Report which is prepared for the monthly meeting of the Board of Directors.

        Since changing over to this system some 30+ years ago we are able to see the cost of running each function within the company, track expenses and prepare budgets more accurately. We are better able to anticipate future needs and build reserve funds to meet those needs. The system has built in checks and balances to prevent "improprieties."

        But probably the greatest advantage is that we no longer spend hours of time at each Board meeting arguing over and voting approval of each bill that is presented to the company. Normal bills do not come before the Board unless there is a specific need to. The Treasurer's Report is printed out and distributed to all attendees at each Board Meeting.

        All members of the company and career staff are invited and encouraged to attend the meetings, and to speak on any matter that comes before the Board.
        Last edited by chiefengineer11; 08-14-2010, 04:17 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by chiefengineer11 View Post
          We, a single station combination (primarily volunteer) fire company, receive money from several sources. Like most volunteer fire companies in Pennsylvania we are a non-profit corporation and function within a corporate structure. The business of the company (separate from its operations) is run by a Board of Directors. We develop a budget based on needs and anticipated income.

          Within the company are various departments such as Fleet, Emergency Services, Building and Facilities, Career Staff (EMS) and several others. Each department is managed by a small committee with its own chairperson. Each department has its own responsibilities and budget. The committee is given a "spending resolution," that is, a limit to how much it can spend on any given item without going to the company's Board of Directors for approval.

          All expenditures are signed off by the cognizant committee chair and forwarded to the treasurer for payment. The treasurer then debits the committee's budget. The expenditures are entered in the Treasurer's Report which is prepared for the monthly meeting of the Board of Directors.

          Since changing over to this system some 30+ years ago we are able to see the cost of running each function within the company, track expenses and prepare budgets more accurately. We are better able to anticipate future needs and build reserve funds to meet those needs. The system has built in checks and balances to prevent "improprieties."

          But probably the greatest advantage is that we no longer spend hours of time at each Board meeting arguing over and voting approval of each bill that is presented to the company. Normal bills do not come before the Board unless there is a specific need to. The Treasurer's Report is printed out and distributed to all attendees at each Board Meeting.

          All members of the company and career staff are invited and encouraged to attend the meetings, and to speak on any matter that comes before the Board.
          You could teach a lot to others that do it the old fashion way. Write a book on this subject and sell it for $20, and generate additional income. You are well ahead of the curve.
          HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

          Comment


          • #6
            Station Captains manage the firehouse budget. Per contract, city provides $75 per assigned positon per year. This money is used to buy new chairs, TV's or other items the firehouse members decide to buy. City also provides a fund for kitchen and office supplies. About $500. Members pay $10 per pay for house dues which buys the staples (coffee, salad dressing, potatoes, onions, spices, mustard, ketchup) for the station that the members have decided they would like to have. Supplies like TP, hand towels, hand soap, car soap, disinfectant, etc. come from the city shops and are not charged toward station budgets. If you need it, order it. You get about half of what you request. Money provided by city ($75 per person) does not roll over year to year, so you spend it whether you need something or not. Buying frenzy by House Capts. starts in September.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by PaladinKnight View Post
              You could teach a lot to others that do it the old fashion way. Write a book on this subject and sell it for $20, and generate additional income. You are well ahead of the curve.
              Thanks for your kind words. That's not the whole story, by a long shot. Back when I came on we were, like so many others, pretty much a hand to mouth operation. Somewhere in the 70s we elected a president (son of an earlier president) who was quite a financial wizard, Temple MBA and all. He made it his business to get the fire company managing the business side like a corporation. He wasn't a great firefighter but became a good EMT. But he was brilliant as a money manager.

              I can tell you, he and I as well as many others had many a fight over getting stuff. If the operations side wanted something, we had to show a true need for it, and where the money was to come from. In almost every case it would have to be put off and allowed for in the next year's budget. Or if it was something really big, set up a reserve fund for it and save up until there was enough money for it. But he treated himself much the same. Prove the rest of the Board (which was many of us, the same people) the need for what he wanted, then budget for it.

              He also had the ability to make our cases to the public and to the municipal officials when it was time to ask them for money. He was able to communicate clearly and understandably what we needed, why we needed it and how they stood to benefit from it.

              The idea of setting up operational committees and spending resolutions did meet with some resistance at first, but he was able to persuade us (as members of the Board) to pass it. The net result is that each of us who chairs a committee (Fleet is mine) has to pay close attention to our money to make it last the year. At the same time, though, within the budgetary constraints, each of us is empowered to run our departments effectively and without having to say "Mother, may I?"

              It took us many years to get to where we are. We had some nice breaks along the way. For example, we ran a 10 year fund raiser to build our current station. The fund raising was during the 80s when CD interest rates were obscenely high.

              Our "customers" have been very good to us, not the least of which is from having learned to effectively communicate with them. The net result is that while we are not by any stretch of the imagination rolling in money, we are able to acquire the things we need and to pay our bills.

              I didn't mean to hijack the thread, but to Mr. Mikegrant, hopefully some of what we have learned down throught the years will have some application to your situation.
              Last edited by chiefengineer11; 08-15-2010, 12:39 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                While it is not "station budget" so to speak.. one of my duties is to oversee the budget for radio repairs and supplies (batteries, microphones, etc.).
                ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by chiefengineer11
                  I didn't mean to hijack the thread, but to Mr. Mikegrant, hopefully some of what we have learned down throught the years will have some application to your situation.
                  And isn't this what this forum should be about, helping each other solve issues.

                  I appreciate the rest of the story. Anything worth doing is worth fighting for. It is this exact kind of message that we must pass along so others benefit.

                  Bravo... I hope that guy you speak of so highly of is still around.
                  Last edited by PaladinKnight; 08-15-2010, 01:34 AM.
                  HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by PaladinKnight View Post
                    And isn't this what this forum should be about, helping each other solve issues.

                    I appreciate the rest of the story. Anything worth doing is worth fighting for. It is this exact kind of message that we must pass along so others benefit.

                    Bravo... I hope that guy you speak of so highly of is still around.
                    Unfortunately, he passed away several years ago. We have a small memorial to him at the station, as well as one to a member who was killed in action while serving our nation in Iraq.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      When I get done with my current assignment... I want to come work for you guys.

                      I always wanted to work with the guys that wrote the book on class.

                      I am impressed sir.

                      Thank you for sharing this excellent example of doing it the right way.
                      HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PaladinKnight View Post
                        When I get done with my current assignment... I want to come work for you guys.

                        I always wanted to work with the guys that wrote the book on class.

                        I am impressed sir.

                        Thank you for sharing this excellent example of doing it the right way.
                        We are always happy to consider class Medics.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Our fire district funds pretty much everything for the two fire departments/stations in the district (each has it own "Inc" and acts as an independent FD).

                          All common costs are handled by the district as routine expenditures - fuel, heat, electricity, etc.

                          Each station chief gets discretionary funds each year for turnout replacement and "small equipment" (hose, tools, etc). Very often if one station needs something, the other does, too, and we'll do a cooperative buy (through the district).

                          Each chief is responsible for submitting a budget for the coming year. Once the district reviews it the public has a say as well (relatively new law concerning NY fire districts).

                          Some portions of the request by the chiefs are fairly standard (like turnouts), but they can also request other items (like a TIC, f'rinstance) which will be funded if the bucks are there.

                          Some folks chafe under the usual restrictions of municipal buying (they'd rather wheel and deal), but the system works.
                          Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                          Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            First off thanks to all who have posted in reply to my request. Chiefengineer what a great blessing you had to serve for such a great man, may we all have the opportunity at some point in our carreer.

                            I feel a little background on my research project is needed. We have recently formed a committee to research and entertain the idea of having each station maintain its own budget for supplies like TP, cleaning sloutions, bottled water, office supplies, etc. We are a department of four stations and four four man trucks (3 engines, 1 ladder, 1 BC, and two private ambos out of our stations). To try and maintain during these fiscally challenging times the fire chief as purposed a process where each station is assigne "X" ammount of dollars each year allotted to the above mentions supplies. We then would decide as a station which supplies we need for our particular needs. We may choose to use bleach and water as our only cleaner to save a little money and upgrade to a nicer toilet paper or make cuts in one area to splurge a little more in another. When the money has run out then we are out. Any money that was saved and left over at the end of the fiscal year will be allotted for us to buy any special items that we choose (ie lazy boys or a new garbage disposal). My assignment is to find any other departments that have a similar system.

                            Thanks again so much for all of the information, it is truely appreciated.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by mikegrant View Post
                              First off thanks to all who have posted in reply to my request. Chiefengineer what a great blessing you had to serve for such a great man, may we all have the opportunity at some point in our carreer.

                              I feel a little background on my research project is needed. We have recently formed a committee to research and entertain the idea of having each station maintain its own budget for supplies like TP, cleaning sloutions, bottled water, office supplies, etc. We are a department of four stations and four four man trucks (3 engines, 1 ladder, 1 BC, and two private ambos out of our stations). To try and maintain during these fiscally challenging times the fire chief as purposed a process where each station is assigne "X" ammount of dollars each year allotted to the above mentions supplies. We then would decide as a station which supplies we need for our particular needs. We may choose to use bleach and water as our only cleaner to save a little money and upgrade to a nicer toilet paper or make cuts in one area to splurge a little more in another. When the money has run out then we are out. Any money that was saved and left over at the end of the fiscal year will be allotted for us to buy any special items that we choose (ie lazy boys or a new garbage disposal). My assignment is to find any other departments that have a similar system.

                              Thanks again so much for all of the information, it is truely appreciated.
                              O.K. down to some nuts and bolts. As part of our process, each one of us has to try to project ahead into the next year and take a SWAG at what our needs will be. I can chart several past years' usage of different stuff and use that to look at trends. Some stuff is reasonably predictable. I can project pretty accurately for example, how many gallons of fuel will be needed. What I can't forecast is the price.

                              Seems kind of silly, but if toilet paper is one of the things you will be buying, how much did you use last year? The year before? The year before that? Is the usage pretty much the same, or did it increase or decrease? Some items, like that or bottled water or whatever, you can actually plot on graph paper to see where it is going, and use that info to predict the next year's usage.

                              How about thing like lounge chairs? Any idea how long they last? How much does one cost? How much does the price increase each year? Projected price divided by probable life will tell you how much to put aside for replacements. Build that into your budget in a reserve fund.

                              Some stuff is hopelessly unpredictable. I don't know if I will have a transmission failure, for example on an ambulance this year or next year or ever. But we have to be ready for it. So we (the company) maintain a contingency reserve just for that kind of thing.

                              A reserve fund that is part of my budget is for tires. I know reasonably accurately how much to expect to spend each year on tire replacement. But there's always the case like a month or so ago where someone hit a pothole (this is the end of the season when PennDOT comes out and relocates all the potholes). A steer tire of an engine was ruined and had to be replaced. The (state contract) price of the tire, road service to the station, etc. totalled nearly $700. But the money is there in the reserve fund. What if we had some kind of catastrophic failure and lost all of the tires on one or more vehicles?

                              This is the kind of thinking our late president pounded (us kicking and screaming all the way) into our heads. Even though you are working with different stuff, some of the same thought processes might be useful to you. However you wind up doing it, good luck!

                              Comment

                              300x600 Ad Unit (In-View)

                              Collapse

                              Upper 300x250

                              Collapse

                              Taboola

                              Collapse

                              Leader

                              Collapse
                              Working...
                              X