By Miriam Raftery
July 5, 2020 (Spring Valley) – San Miguel Fire District’s board of directors will consider the 2020/2021 budget at a July 10th hearing due to COVID-19. The finance committee has proposed freezing all non-essential and discretionary spending due to unanticipated costs of the pandemic estimated at less than $172,000.
The meeting will be held via Facebook Live on Wednesday, June 10 at 10 a..m. (Note time change from the usual 5:30 p.m.) The public can watch live at https://www.facebook.com/SanMiguelFireRescue. Public comments are only allowed on agenda items and may be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org on or before the meeting begins. Comments must be 300 words or less and will be read aloud as part of the public meeting.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency could reimburse the district for up to 75% of those cost. But the Finance Committee report cautions that the spending freeze is needed because “it may take some time for the 75% Federal COVID-19 reimbursement to be received and the Committee wants to ensure the funds authorized from the General Fund for COVID-19 are replaced.” The report adds that if FEMA reimbursement comes in sooner than anticipated, the Chief can use his discretion to apply funds on the items frozen.
According to Leah Harris, finance officer, “There are still some unknowns as it relates to our revenue forecasts for the upcoming Fiscal Year and years to come. The County of San Diego is accepting COVID-19 penalty cancellation requests for those who have been directly impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic. Plan check and inspection fees are down due to the economic downturn and it is unknown how the pandemic will affect future construction projects in our District. Continuous analysis will help determine any potential impacts to our revenue streams and the District will be able to make any appropriate adjustments to the budget in a timely manner.”
The district is working on a long-term financial plan allowing for economic downtown. Fortunately the district has increased its reserve funds in the past two years and begun groundwork for capital improvements, Harris notes, though some projects will be deferred.
“We are aware that our reserve funds are not currently at an adequate level to sustain many risk factors; however, the District has looked at slowing down its cash outflows to help withstand a shortfall in revenue.”
Based on current projections and trend analysis, the Fiscal Year 2020/2021 proposed budget will be balanced, and the District does not anticipate using reserve funds to balance the General Fund. However, the board will continue to review financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, the finance report concludes.
View agenda for 6/10/2020 meeting
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