John Kinkaid: Fire board concerns
In all of the time that I’ve lived in Moffat County, I’ve never known how much money the fire department brings in and spends. All taxing entities have an obligation to keep voters informed on their finances. That’s true of the city, county, MCSD, CNCC and Craig Fire/Rescue.
Craig Fire/Rescue board meeting minutes are inadequate, as far as financial information goes, but I went to the State’s Department of Local Affairs website and found the annual budgets and the independent financial audits. You can find them here: DOLA, Local Government filings page. https://dola.colorado.gov/dlg_portal/filings.jsf?id=64047&category=5&jfwid=9kFxLc75nWb_LRcs68Z40zYGzEjOmskBEb3LS8Se%3A0
The audited financials for 2017 (latest year available) show that the department brings in just over $1 million per year. I never knew that. In 2017 Craig Fire/Rescue spent $200,000 on administration, $104,000 on the firefighters’ pension fund contributions and $340,000 on fire fighting and hazmat. They also had other expenses like $6,200 on fuel.
In 2017 Craig/Fire Rescue held $632,000 in cash and cash equivalents. And in that same year the pension fund had an $3.8 million balance. It looks like the pension fund will pay out $265,000 in benefits in 2019 according to this year’s annual budget.
I really believe that the fire board should adopt bylaw changes that would pair the fire board elections together with either city elections or general elections. There would be greater voter participation and more interest in department affairs and decisions. I would also urge CFR to post the budget and financials on their website. It’s our tax money and we should know how it’s spent.
This is in no way an attack on the work of our fire department. It’s just good government.