In addition to updating the North Branford Fire Commission on the at the May 3 meeting, also discussed fire department finances. Due to the public hearing on the budget, the Fire Commission did not meet in April so Seward updated the commission on the budget process.
Seward attended numerous meetings along with the Town Council’s budget workshop where he presented the department’s proposed budget, highlighting goals, the need for equipment with the emphasis on the safety of members and capital improvement.
“There were no questions from the Council and they were very receptive to our needs,” said Seward.
With cuts made all around, the ’s budget was cut by $22,500 for a 2012-13 budget of $603,150. There was no change to the ambulance budget.
“I think we will be in pretty good shape–the cuts were equal to what other departments were cut by [about 4 percent],” said Seward. “And for the money we get, the North Branford Fire Department does a darn good job.”
The budget still includes replacing Rescue 11 and remounting one ambulance, though the other scheduled capital improvement projects were cut. One area for concern that was discussed at the .
“Money was cut from that line item and I advised the Town Council that I could work within the parameters of what they gave us to replace those tires as of July 1,” said Seward.
In addition to discussing the budget numbers, Seward also showed the pamphlet he handed out at the public hearing that was put together for residents regarding the fire department, how it’s run and what it costs for fire protection. It also compared the fire department’s budget to other town departments’ budgets.
The North Branford Fire Department is a volunteer department and Seward noted that had the town had to pay for those volunteers’ time responding and training, the cost would have been in excess of $1.2 million.
The brochure broke down the cost of fire protection per household to $123.85 per year.
“You pay more for your cell phone than fire protection,” said Seward.
Fire Commissioner Angelo Tosi complimented the chief’s presentation, saying the breakdown “really puts things in perspective.”
“A lot of people have no idea where their tax dollars go or that these buildings [fire stations] are privately owned,” said Tosi.