Cheswick VFC: No real savings
Some Cheswick councilors routinely misrepresent the borough's fire protection budget; therefore, we must respond with a budget analysis.
Be aware that none of the “budgeted“ funds actually go directly to the fire company. Besides normal operating costs, the funds pay for hydrant repairs, communication upgrades, capital purchases, supplies, etc., many of which have little expense or have never been used in the past. For example, $1,800 is “budgeted” for capital purchases; however, those funds were not spent 2011 and 2012. The fire chief generally receives a stipend of $200 versus a budgeted amount of $1200. The fire hydrant repair budget is $1,700. If fire services are subcontracted, what does that mean for hydrant repairs, etc.? Will these costs be incurred by the subcontractor fire department?
The fire service's actual operating costs (insurances, gas, repairs) should be used to compare costs instead of a budgeted number. In 2011, the actual expenditures were $9,994 versus a budget of $16,725. In 2012, actual spending was $10,631 versus a budgeted $16,536. Both were well below the budget.
The subcontractor's bid is $8,900. Where is this great savings?
Do Cheswick taxpayers want their dollars going to an outside contractor for virtually the same cost? You be the judge!
The writer is the president of the Cheswick Volunteer Fire Co.