Kyle Jensen / The Record South Whidbey Fire/EMS commissioners sign off to approve the 2017 budget.

Commissioners approve $2.7 million South Whidbey Fire/EMS budget

The South Whidbey Fire/EMS Board of Commissioners OK’d the 2017 budget with no qualms at the monthly commissioners meeting Thursday night.

Chief Rusty Palmer presented the budget to a nearly full room occupied by commissioners, deputy chiefs, paid and volunteer firefighters and district staff.

The overall budget, which is $2.7 million, shows a 3 percent decrease from last year, despite wage hikes for 10 of the lowest paid employees. There is a surplus of $80,000, which Palmer said is a “good place to be.”

Personnel costs increased 3 percent as a result of the wage hikes and newly added part time firefighters, while operations costs decreased 10 percent from the 2016 budget.

Palmer attributed the overall budget decrease to the frugality of district staff. Palmer has made an effort to include the entire staff in the budget process rather than one or two higher ups, in order to have extra eyes on the budget.

When Palmer asked the room if anybody had questions or concerns about the budget, nobody answered. It was then approved by the commissioners.

“What that means is you guys did some good work putting this together,” Commissioner Kenon Simmons said.

The budget is expected to be posted online soon at