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Fire district budget looks OK

Fire District 3 officials recently met to take a hard look at their budget, and they liked what they saw.

Fire commissioners and staff held a mid-year discussion to evaluate how expenditures and revenues are matching up to their previously approved spending plan.

“We’re doing very well with our budget,” said Fire Chief Rusty Palmer. “Our people are being very frugal. We’re buying what we need, and not what we want.”

Revenues are down, and are expected to continue to decrease with depreciating property values on South Whidbey. However, no cuts to the district’s staff are planned or anticipated.

Some unanticipated repair costs to the fire department’s apparatuses resulted in higher costs the first six months. The district transferred money from its cash reserve account to cover those costs.

The district also discussed its investments, and Palmer said the district will create an investment schedule.

“We want to make sure we are investing those monies as best as we can,” Palmer said.

District officials are already looking ahead to the next budget.

One item that’s needed, Palmer said, is a new aerial apparatus. He said he’s writing that into the budget plan, and is confident they will be able to afford it. His preliminary purchase plan was to buy it when the time is right, rather than be forced to purchase it in a moment of need.

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