Fire district spending discussion heats up in Badoura Township
The Akeley Council's discussion on the fire department's methods of calculating the amounts each entity pays has ignited concern in Badoura Township.
The township supervisors, meeting Tuesday, are also examining Eastern Hubbard County Fire District's spending and process of calculations, "dissolution" of the contract proposed as an option.
At Monday's special meeting, Akeley council member Brian Hitchcock reported the amount being charged for coverage by the EHCFD does not correspond with agreed upon formulas.
The city has paid $20,100 the past three years but based on prior agreements and subsequent amendments, the city should pay $16,221 based on a formula in the joint powers agreement calling for $5 for each member of the population in each entity. Unmet expenses are to be divided equally.
EHCFD budget in 2010 was $64,174.
If the $5 formula is used, the city of Akeley would be responsible for $16,221, Akeley Township, $16,816, $16,436 for White Oak Township and Badoura's would increase more than $5,000, to $14,701.
If the 60-40 amendment (ostensibly in place from 1991-98) was implemented, the city would pay $16,906, based on the 2010 census; Badoura's amount would increase nominally, from $9,446 to $9,525. (Sixty percent of the budget would be assessed according to population, 40 percent assessed equally among the four entities.)
The city is backing the $5 formula, Badoura's fire board rep Tim Scouton told township supervisors Tuesday night.
"The city of Akeley says they are paying too much," Scouton said. "It appears they are absolutely right."
He reviewed the history of the agreements, noting incorrect amounts were being put in the equation since 2008. "It just got forgotten. And we've gone by the contracts" proposed by the department.
"In a nutshell," Akeley's going to the next meeting and will ask to pay "significantly less," he said.
Scouton said he and Hitchcock are advocating the amounts be based on property values, the formula used by neighboring districts.
If market values were used, Akeley would pay 8.04 percent of the total amount, Akeley Township 39.32 percent, White Oak 37.57 and Badoura 15.07, which would bump up the township's amount by about $200.
"I want to say we're not paying it," Scouton said of the additional $5,000, and suggested the board look into dissolution and possibly partnering with a neighboring department.
He noted Nevis is closer to the township than EHCFD's headquarters in Akeley.
Fireboard meetings have not been conducive to discussion, he said. "It's not a pleasant atmosphere to ask questions. They jump down your throat.
"The fire department belongs to us, but it has been turned around," Scouton said.
The board was also apprised of EHCFD salaries and reimbursement. In comparison with other departments,' Akeley's was higher in all categories.
The supervisors stated they "will not consider a $5,000 increase," and will not approve the proposed purchase of a brush truck, at an estimated cost of $85,000 to $125,000.
The fire board is scheduled to meet at 7 p.m. Thursday, May 19 in the fire hall in Akeley.