Purpose of the Budget
The District budget document serves two purposes. First is to provide our community and the Board of Fire Commissioners with a clear picture of the services provided by Central Whidbey Island Fire & Rescue, the cost of those services, and the policy decisions underlying the District’s financial decisions. The second purpose of the budget document is to provide the District’s management with a financial and operating plan that complies with regulatory requirements for fire districts in the State of Washington and exemplifies best practices in budgeting and financial reporting.
The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada presented a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award to CWIFR for its annual budget for the fiscal year beginning January 1, 2015. In order to receive this award, a governmental unit must publish a budget document that meets program criteria as a policy document, as an operations guide, as a financial plan, and as a communications device. This is the second consecutive year that CWIFR has received this award.
A new addition to CWIFR budget documentation is the Budget Summary. This document is intended to provide an overview of CWIFR’s annual budget and financial position in an easy to understand and simplified format.
Organization of the Budget Document
CWIFR’s budget is divided into the following sections:
Table of Contents
A table of contents is provided to simplify navigation. In the PDF version of the budget, the table of contents is hyperlinked to the related sections of the budget.
Readers’ Guide to the Budget
The readers’ guide provides an overview of the Budget Document and navigation.
The transmittal is the Fire Chief’s budget message to the Board of Fire Commissioners and the community.
This section of the Budget Document provides an overview of the district including governance; values, mission, and vision for the future; services provided; boundaries, organization and staffing; and an overview of the District’s strategic plan.
The financial overview provides an outline of the District’s revenue streams, budget assumptions, budget organization and process, basis of accounting, financial policies and financial summaries.
This section of the Budget Document provides an overview of the General Fund and specific information on each Division including a description of programs and responsibilities, challenges and opportunities, division budget, major expenditures, and the strategic goals and initiatives that will be addressed in 2017.
This section of the budget provides an overview of the Contingency Fund and detail of fund transfers in the preceding two years.
Capital Projects Fund
This section of the budget provides an overview of the Capital Projects Fund, a schedule of capital projects, and current year capital projects justification.
Compensated Absences Fund
This section of the budget defines the District’s liabilities for compensated absences and provides an overview of the Compensated Absences Fund.
Debt Service Fund
The District has established a Debt Service Fund as an element of its budget and financial management practices. However, the District currently has no debt and this section is not included in the 2017 Budget.
Grants Management Fund
The District has established a Grants Management Fund as an element of its budget and financial management practices to separately account for grant funds received from state or federal government or from other sources. However, the District currently has no grants and this section is not included in the 2017 Budget.
The reference section documents the source material cited in the Budget Document.
Copies of the District’s levy certification, tax increase resolution, and budget adoption resolutions are included in Appendix A.
Glossary of Terms
A glossary of terms is provided in Appendix B.
Long Term Financial Plan
A summary of the District’s long term financial plan is provided in Appendix C. The complete Long Term Financial Plan can be downloaded from the District’s web site.
Public input during our strategic planning process provided us with the foundation of our community value proposition. Community members indicated that they wanted excellent service that was efficient and affordable. To that end, we have established strategic goals focused on sound fiscal policies, long term financial planning, and transparency to earn the trust of those that we serve on a daily basis.
The District was honored to receive a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award from the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its annual budget for the fiscal year beginning January 1, 2014. This award represents a significant achievement by the District. It reflects the commitment of our Board of Fire Commissioners and District staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the budget award, the District had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well the District’s budget serves as a: Policy document, financial plan, operations guide, and communications device. CWIFR continues this commitment to excellence by improving the 2015 budget document based on feedback from the GFOA.
In 2015, the District’s budget increased 2.61%. This increase is in large part due to contractual compensation increases and expense related to an expanded financial and accountability audit by the State Auditor due to reaching a revenue threshold of $2,000,000. This increase is within the District’s financial plan which anticipates an annual increase of 3.00%. The 2015 District budget provides for improvement over current service delivery levels with a substantial increase in volunteer staffing.
Overall the District is fiscally healthy. We are debt free, with sufficient revenue to meet operational needs and maintaining an adequate ending balance in the General Fund. In 2010, the District identified that reserves were insufficient to meet projected capital expenditures required to replace existing apparatus and equipment over the long term. Investment in the General Capital Projects fund has been substantially increased to meet near term needs and achieve full funding for apparatus and equipment by 2025. In addition, the District is currently analyzing long term (50 year) facilities requirements and capital facilities funding strategies as current revenue is insufficient to address both capital equipment and facilities requirements along with meeting operational expenses with current revenue. Due to constitutional and statutory limits on taxation, the District faces a challenge in maintaining current service delivery levels beyond 2020 without voter approval for additional revenue to meet operating and capital needs.
The assessed value (AV) of taxable property within the District has decreased 16.35% since 2010. However, loss of AV slowed over the last two years, and in 2014 AV increased 2.35% as a result of rebounding property values and new construction. Over the last 25 years, AV has seen an average increase of 8.23% annually. This average value may be a bit misleading as there have been several years in which the increase was dramatic while most years increase has been more modest. Based on historical data, we anticipate that AV will continue to increase at a modest rate which will slowly reduce the District’s levy rate over time.
Chief Ed Hartin, MS, EFO, FIFireE, CFO