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Do you have an Individual Station Budget that you manage?

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  • chiefengineer11
    replied
    Originally posted by hwoods View Post
    i realize that randy, sam, and i are the only ones here that will understand why, but i'm rolling on the floor laughing at the above comment.

    And don't tell don.................... :d :d
    ooooh kaaaay!

    Leave a comment:


  • hwoods
    replied
    Well.............

    Originally posted by chiefengineer11 View Post
    We are always happy to consider class Medics.

    I realize that Randy, Sam, and I are the only ones here that will understand why, But I'm rolling on the Floor Laughing at the above comment.

    And don't tell Don....................

    Leave a comment:


  • islandfire03
    replied
    Originally posted by chiefengineer11 View Post
    Nice work, island fire. Your system sounds very similar to ours. But I suppose it should be pointed out that while we have models that work, there are others. The most important thing, as we learned, is to know your cost of doing business, and plan ahead.

    By the way, I've been threatening to take a road trip up into northern New England to visit a few firehouses. Yours is one that I wanted to come to. Should I manage to pull it off, I suppose our illustrious counterpart in Bridgton would be able to direct me?
    Be glad to host you CE. I believe that TC could find it without too much trouble, even though he lives on the farrrrr side of the county.. :=}
    Late sept, early October is a good time to visit. Less tourists and some of the best weather here on the coast.

    Leave a comment:


  • chiefengineer11
    replied
    Nice work, island fire. Your system sounds very similar to ours. But I suppose it should be pointed out that while we have models that work, there are others. The most important thing, as we learned, is to know your cost of doing business, and plan ahead.

    By the way, I've been threatening to take a road trip up into northern New England to visit a few firehouses. Yours is one that I wanted to come to. Should I manage to pull it off, I suppose our illustrious counterpart in Bridgton would be able to direct me?

    Leave a comment:


  • islandfire03
    replied
    Cheif engineer: We have a similar program for our dept.
    We officers have to do a projected budget each September to present to our board of directors.
    We track annual expenses for the common consumable items covering everything from toilet paper to medical supplies used on the ambulance. We know how much fuel, normal maintenance cost to expect for the fleet and have a % allowance for the unexpected such as a tire replacement.
    Our finance committee set up a level of funding they feel we should have in Capitol replacement reserves, and a catastrophic failure fund what we feel would be needed in the case of say a pump ,transmission or engine failure occurred. Accident damage or loss of a vehicle will be covered by insurance, but we felt it prudent to have the funds available for those unknown but possible failures.
    We have to present a 5 & 10 year financial plan to the board and the town based on what major capitol purchases will be needed and when. This plan is updated every year and some items are carried over from year to year until the funding is spent.

    By doing this type of SWAG , we have been able to plan ahead and have the funding available when we need a new ambulance or engine.
    When we built our last truck we knew what we needed and how much funding was available for our medium duty rescue. { buff calls it a mini me rescue], but it does the job we need and can get up & down our small rural roads.

    We wrote 1 check when the builder received the chassis, 1 check when the truck was ready for paint , and the final check when the builder delivered it to us ready for service. All of these funds came from CD's that were coming due and had been earmarked for vehicle replacement. We put the truck in service with no debt and used the budgeted equipment acct to outfit it with equipment we didn't already own.

    Financial stability requires a sound financial plan & the will power to live by the guidelines set in place by our board. I've never been told no to an equipment purchase as long as it was planned or could be covered by the contingency acct.

    Our budget has over 60 line items and the treasurer & book keeper let us know if we are getting close to overspending any given line acct.

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  • chiefengineer11
    replied
    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!

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  • mikegrant
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • tree68
    replied
    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.

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  • chiefengineer11
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • PaladinKnight
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • chiefengineer11
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • PaladinKnight
    replied
    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, 12:34 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • DeputyChiefGonzo
    replied
    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.).

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  • chiefengineer11
    replied
    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; 08-14-2010, 11:39 PM.

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  • IFDFFENG20
    replied
    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.

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