Fire district budget may add 2 officers

On Wednesday night, Island County Fire District 3 commissioners got their first look at how much money they will spend in 2003.

There were not a whole lot of changes from the current year's budget, as many items are funded similarly to the 2002 budget. Projected 2003 income without a levy increase going before voters on the Nov. 5 ballot is $1.8 million. The district proposes to spend $1.3 million of that.

"The preliminary budget is presented as the wish list for next year," said FD3 Chief Don Smith Wednesday. "This is simply a starting point. Some items in fact may never make the final budget."

Expenditures are actually down for this year. About $1.4 million in construction work on the new Freeland fire station pushed 2002 disbursements to $2.6 million. Funding for the Freeland station came out of savings built up over several years.

Salaries will be about the same for full-time professional staff, but the proposed budget includes money for the addition of two captains at $34,294 each.

The new budget for 2003 will be adopted in November.

Looking to get in on an upcoming budget, Darin Reid, the district's special services chief, pitched the commissioners on a $6,400 video projection system to be permanently installed in the Freeland fire station training room. The district currently has a portable system that can be taken to different stations for training purposes.

The new system allows for three dimensional animation, which Reid says is more effective for marine rescue training than slides or moving magnets around a board.

Perhaps hoping to give those planning the budget some inspirational reading, Lee Miles, representing Gideon International, made copies of the New Testament available to all volunteers during the meeting.

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