Saturday, December 13, 2008

National Survey Confirms Concerns

I have developed a very close, personal relationship with my state representative.
We have become very good friends and have managed to balance our friendship against the work that needs to be done in our state on behalf of the fire service.

Unless you live in a cave, you have seen the political crisis that has affected Illinois during the past three years. Our state budget has been used in a very disgusting, immoral and unethical manner by our state government; most notably by our governor. He has held the entire state hostage, including schools, children's hospitals, roads programs and yes; fire departments.
We are a very progressive, small fire department that pre-plans, including our financial forecasts.

In the current climate, how in the world can we look beyond the current fiscal year with any confidence and plan for our next five years with some economic accuracy?

I realize that it is not wise to spend money that you don't have, but what about money that was already approved by the legislature, but has been tied up by the governor for the last three years, because he's not happy that some of his pet projects were not funded? We have $25,000 in grant monies sitting in the Comptroller's office that has yet to be released to us, so we had to move forward with the project, borrow the money, then pay off the loan, because we needed emergency power at our fire station. It was a project worthy of a grant.

With the current budget crisis, I cannot in good conscience prepare our customary five year plan without considering tax increases or reducing services and that sounds strange for a small fire department that is used to running services on a boot strap-thin tax base.
Here is an article that will get your attention: http://www.ncsl.org/programs/press/2008/pr120408SBUDec08.htm
As always, I welcome comments.
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2 comments:

  1. Much like getting the handle on the fire ground it gets down to the saying....with the question.....How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time....Now about budgets....take what you have and work it out...find the wiggle room...there is always that to be found...just need to make the balance sheet zero equals zero. As firefighters we are a can do lot....and if we cannot...we get creative...so..sharpen the pencils...and get out the eraser...fall back to a reinforced position....get political...get in front of your community and scream for help...somebody out there will hear you and put the 911 financial pacage together and help out. America can do under any and all circumstances....New York proved that recently...New Orleans and Katrina to name two of the can do places to look....In the meantime who said you wouldn't loose sleep over making cuts...where to begin? Ask the front lines...they have the wisdom to know what needs and not needs to be purchased...get input and prioritize...and pray....above all else pray that someone does not die on your watch because some bureaucrat decided to fund a new bridge or monument to a lesser priority. Make sure you take your case to "the people" if you are cut so finely to the bone of public finance....at least they will know you were not timid in getting the message and the cry for help out to them....my pov...

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  2. Art,
    If it helps any you are not alone. Small and rural departments are feeling the budget crunch across the country. Billing for services can create another income stream with more and more departments billing just to recover the cost of fuel. Firefighters are among the most creative people on the planet but you have to sell alot of soda and hotdogs to make the same profit as billing for just one MVA. Check out my website at http://www.newriverclaims.com to learn the steps for a recovery billing system. PS, now that the gov is gone, I hope you can get your grant.

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