City, county to split fire budget excess

Firefighters Dustin Rogers and Ike Haynie geared up for a call.

During Monday night’s meeting of Metter City Council, the city voted to pay the county $30,888 from the FY2019 Fire Operations Budget. This figure is half of the positive variance of $61,776 in the budget that was reported in the city audit. 

In an email to the city on July 30, County Administrator Bryan Aasheim formally asked City Manager Carter Crawford for the variance to be equally divided between the two entities as part of Service Delivery Strategy negotiations.

The email reads: “After review of the audit report for City of Metter, it appears that the Fire Department ended the year with a budget surplus of $61,776 (pg. 19 Audit Report) ... 

“I think the intent of the SDS would be for the unincorporated residents to share in the actual expense of the Fire Department and any savings should be shared with them on the same basis as the funding arrangement rather than being absorbed into the City’s fund balance. Do you agree with that?”

The request was approved by City Council in a unanimous vote.

Under the terms of the SDS agreement, the city and county share 50-50 in the fire department’s operational budget. A committee comprised of a county representative, city representative and fire chief are to meet each year to review the budget before its adoption by city and county officials.

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