Fire Board approves $5.3 million budget

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By HERB SWETT
For the Keizertimes

A 2012-13 budget of $5,386,034 for the Keizer Fire District was adopted last month by its board of directors.

Action came after no one spoke from the audience at what was a budget hearing.

The board also approved transferring funds as needed from the general fund to the emergency medical services fund.

A financial break for the district for workers’ compensation was announced by its insurer, R. Bauer Insurance. Dave Bauer of the agency told the board that, even though base rates for all fire service classes have increased, a mathematical formula based on the district’s safety record would result in a net premium decrease of $6,000.

The board discussed the district’s financial work plan, for which district officials have been considering an organizational proposal from Emergency Services Consulting International, a Wilsonville-based company, to draw up a strategic plan for an estimated $10,000. Director Greg Ego said it would be premature to decide immediately to spend $10,000, although it might be a good idea eventually.

Fire Chief Jeff Cowan noted that the district had to notify the Marion County assessor by July 15, 2014, of its tax rate, which would be affected by the work plan. He said that the current levy will expire in November 2014 and that an election in November of this year would give the district a safety margin.

Joe Van Meter, board president, told Cowan to set up a schedule for a meeting on the work plan. He said that the ESCI proposal impressed him and that he believed in hiring help from outside.

Cowan announced the hiring of Vicky Dosier as office manager effective July 2. She will succeed Karen Bracken, who has moved to the Fairbanks, Alaska, area because her husband, Frank Bracken, who has been a Keizer fire captain, will become a training captain for Chena-Goldstream Fire and Rescue. Karen Bracken will be a budget technician for the federal Bureau of Land Management.

Cowan said that Brian Appel, a paramedic, had been promoted to the captain’s position Bracken vacated and that Andrew Alderson, who has been a paramedic in Dallas, would take Appel’s former position.

The chief also said that a move to dismiss the one remaining lawsuit filed by Marion County Fire District No. 1 was the only remaining issue regarding the election on the proposal to switch Clear Lake from District No. 1 to the Keizer district.

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