Lower wage costs keep district's fire department budgets in surplus territory | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Lower wage costs keep district's fire department budgets in surplus territory

Several Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen fire departments are projecting budget surpluses this year due to lower than anticipated wage costs.
October 17, 2018 - 3:27 PM

PENTICTON - Lower than anticipated costs for wages are helping to keep the regional district’s fire departments' budgets in check.

A report prepared for the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen’s Board of Directors meeting tomorrow, Oct. 18, notes several of the district’s seven fire departments are on track for a surplus this year due to lower wage costs.

The fire departments in Coalmont/Tulameen, Kaleden, Okanagan Falls and Willowbrook all saved money on wages as third quarter budget results are tallied, with Coalmont/Tulameen projecting $57,000 in savings mostly due to wages, Kaleden anticipating a $21,000 surplus, Okanagan Falls at $13,000, and Willowbrook at $22,000 under budget.

The Keremeos and District Fire Department anticipates a $159,000 surplus, in spite of the fact the department was surrounded by fire most of the summer due to the Snowy Mountain wildfire burning nearby.

Savings were largely due to receipt of Forest Service wildfire firefighting revenue totalling $140,000. The remainder of the surplus comes from wages that came in under budget.

Anarchist Mountain Fire Service is projecting a $24,000 deficit, largely due to a projected surplus from 2017 of $30,000 that turned out to be a $14,000 deficit. Lower than expected wage costs have helped that department recoup some of its deficit.

Naramata proved to be an exception amongst the regional district’s departments, with a projected year-end deficit of $110,000, largely due to honorariums that jumped to $175,000 in 2017, following a three-year average of $110,000.

Plans are to carry the deficit into next year’s budget.

West Bench’s fire service is projecting a $34,000 deficit due to higher than budgeted Penticton fire protection costs.

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