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County
Fire
Recommended Expenditures
By Program 2017-18 Recommended Change from 2016-17 Adopted
Administration & Support
 
$12,749,891
18%
$3,524,110
38.2%
Fire Prevention
 
$3,019,594
4%
$255,305
9.2%
Emergency Operations
 
$56,048,915
78%
$1,120,396
2.0%
Total Department
 
$71,818,400
100%
$4,899,811
7.3%
Mission Statement

To serve and safeguard the community from the impacts of fires, medical emergencies, environmental emergencies, and natural disasters through leadership, planning, education, prevention, code enforcement, and all-hazard emergency response.

About the Department

The Santa Barbara County Fire Protection District encompasses approximately 2,480 square miles, providing services to an estimated population of 172,000.  This includes the unincorporated areas of the County as well as the cities of Buellton, Solvang, and Goleta. 

 

The Fire Department responds from 16 fire station locations to all types of emergencies, including: fire, medical, rescue, and hazardous materials incidents.  Each fire station is staffed around the clock with a minimum of 3 firefighters and a Type I (structure) engine.  Specialized equipment such as Type III (wildland) fire engines, water tenders, paramedic rescue ambulances, technical rescue and water rescue equipment are strategically placed throughout the County and are cross-staffed with existing engine personnel.  In addition to fire station response capabilities, the Department staffs and responds with helicopters, bulldozers and hand crews to fire, pre-fire, flood, and other disasters.

 

The Fire Department maximizes the services provided to the community by cross-training firefighters and operating specialized programs out of crucial locations.  Specialized programs include:  paramedic services, ambulance transport services, water rescue services, urban search and rescue services, a search dog program, an arson dog program, and child car seat safety checks and installations.  Safety personnel are also deployed in specialized Support Services and Fire Prevention staff assignments.

Recommended Changes and Operational Impact

Staffing

Increase of 2.19 in total FTEs reflects the full year staffing of the 4th firefighter/paramedic post position at Station 30 in Solvang.  The FY 2015-16 Adopted budget only included the three firefighters (1 post position) for 3 months out of the fiscal year, reflecting the April 2016 start date for the staffing as per the terms of the agreement between the Fire Department and the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians.

Expenditures

Net operating expenditure increase of $4,072,000:

o+$2,020,000 increase in Salaries and Employee Benefits due to:

+$1.5 million increase in regular salaries, benefits and overtime as a result of estimated cost of living, merit and retirement cost increases;

+$0.4 million increase in regular salaries, benefits and overtime due to the full-year staffing of the firefighter/paramedic post position at Station 30 in Solvang;

+$0.3 million increase in health insurance and employee health clinic costs;

-$0.1 million decrease in unemployment insurance and workers compensation premiums;

o+$2,052,000 increase in Services and Supplies & Other Charges primarily due to: 

+$0.8 million increase due to the transfer of development impact mitigation fees to the City of Goleta for the Station 10 construction project;

-$0.6 million decrease due to the completion of the department-wide fire hose replacement;

+$0.5 million increase for motor pool charges due to increased replacement rates for emergency response vehicles;

+$0.3 million increase for cost allocation charges;

+$0.3 million increase for estimated property tax administration charges;

+0.2 million increase for special facilities related projects such as headquarters security improvements, and various fire station bathroom, office and kitchen updates;

+0.2 million increase for information technology and communication internal service fund charges;

+$0.1 million increase for liability insurance;

+$0.1 million increase for employee physicals;

+$0.2 million increase across many Services and Supplies line items;

 

Net non-operating expenditure increase of $3,279,000:

o+$3,537,000 increase in Other Financing Uses due to:

+$4.2 million increase to transfer funds to General Services to complete the Station 41 rebuild project in Cuyama and to begin design work on the Buellton Operations and Administrative Center project;

-$0.7 million decrease for transfers to the Vehicle Operations Fund due to the completed purchases of a dump/chipper truck, a crew buggy, a stakeside pick-up, an ambulance, a bulldozer transport tractor and two pick-ups for new staff positions in Training and Fire Planning and Engineering; 

o-$1,000,000 decrease in Increases to Fund Balances due to a decrease in additions to the Fire District Capital Outlay restricted fund balance compared to the prior year;

o+$742,000 increase in Capital Asset equipment purchases, primarily due to the replacement of mobile data computers in the front line emergency response vehicles and the replacement of a lowbed trailer for the heavy equipment in the Construction section.

 

Expenditures (cont’d)

These changes result in Recommended operating expenditures of $66,393,000, non-operating expenditures of $12,972,000, and total expenditures of $79,365,000.

 

Revenues

Net operating revenue increase of $6,936,000:

o+$3,681,000 increase in Taxes consists of four main components:

+$1.5 million increase in the natural property tax growth increment for the Fire District based on a 4.5% estimated growth rate;

+$1.6 million increase represents the 25% allocation of the estimated growth in General Fund property tax revenues to the Fire District.  This tax revenue growth allocation to the Fire District was directed by the Board of Supervisors in May 2012;

+$0.4 million increase in supplemental property taxes;

+$0.2 million increase in Redevelopment Agency (RDA) distributions reflects the estimated pass-through payments and ongoing portion of the RDA dissolution impacts;

o+$3,623,000 increase in Charges for Services primarily due to:

+$1.1 million increase associated with the State fire protection services contract based on the increased contract allocation and drought funding received in FY 2015-16; 

+$1.0 million increase for reimbursements associated with federal and state fire incidents;

+$0.8 million increase due to the recognition of development impact mitigation fee revenues associated with the Goleta Community Planning Area.  These revenue funds will subsequently be transferred to the City of Goleta for the Station 10 construction project (see Expenditure section);

+$0.4 million increase associated with the full-year funding of the firefighter/paramedic post position (3 FTEs) at Station 30 in Solvang in FY 2016-17 by the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians as compared to the one quarter funding provided in FY 2015-16 due to the April 2016 start date for the post position;

+$0.2 million increase associated with the UCSB Long Range Development Plan growth agreement;

+$0.1 million increase in ambulance transport revenues;

o-$359,000 decrease in Intergovernmental Revenues reflecting Fire’s reduced proportional share of Proposition 172 Public Safety Sales Tax revenues; 

o-$9,000 decrease in Miscellaneous Revenue.

 

Net non-operating revenue increase of $415,000:

o+$0.6 million increase in the use of one-time Fund Balance primarily due to capital needs;

o-$0.2 million decrease in Other Financing Sources due to a reduction in the General Fund’s share of Fire’s cost allocation charges.

 

These changes result in recommended operating revenues of $72,284,000, non-operating revenues of $7,081,000 and total revenues of $79,365,000.

 

Proposed Changes and Operational Impact

The FY 2017-18 Proposed Budget assumes no change in staffing levels from the FY 2016-17 Recommended Budget.  

 

Expenditures

The $2,472,000 increase in operating expenditures is primarily due to:

+$2.4 million increase in Salaries and Employee Benefits as a result of estimated labor agreement, retirement, health insurance and workers compensation costs; 

+$0.1 million increase in Other Charges due to Motor Pool charges and various increases in utilities, information technology and communications internal service fund charges;

-$0.1 million decrease in  Services and Supplies primarily due to the estimated reduction in cost allocation charges in FY 2017-18.  

 

The $6,249,000 decrease in non-operating expenditures is primarily due to:

-$5.7 million decrease in Other Financing Uses as a result of the completion of two ladder truck purchases (-$2.4 million) and the replacement of five Type I engines (-$0.4 million) along with a reduction in capital projects (-$3.0 million) reflecting the completion of the Station 41 (Cuyama) rebuild project in FY 2016-17;

-$0.9 million decrease in Capital Assets as a result of the completion of the replacement of mobile data computers in the front line emergency response vehicles in FY 2016-17 (-$0.7 million) and the completion of the equipment purchases related to the two ladder trucks purchased in FY 2016-17 (-$0.3 million);

+$0.3 million increase in the Fire District restricted fund balance.

 

Revenues

The FY 2017-18 Proposed operating revenue increase of $2,483,000 over the FY 2016-17 Recommended Budget is primarily the result of:

+$4.0 million increase in property tax revenues;

-$1.2 million decrease in Charges for Services primarily due to the completion of the reimbursement from the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians for the ladder truck purchase in FY 2016-17;

-$0.3 million decrease in Intergovernmental Revenues reflecting Fire’s decreased share of Proposition 172 Public Safety Sales Tax revenues as a result of Board direction in May 2012.

 

The FY 2017-18 Proposed non-operating revenue decrease of $6,261,000 is primarily the result of:

-$5.8 million decrease in the use of fund balance for one-time capital projects and vehicle purchases; 

-$0.4 million decrease in Other Financing Sources as a result of the reduction in the General Fund’s share of the Fire cost allocation charges.

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