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Tue, Oct. 22

CAFMA tentatively approves $25.75M budget
Wage raise included for starting firefighters

With support from the Central Yavapai and Chino Valley fire district boards, the Central Arizona Fire and Medical Authority’s (CAFMA) board of directors tentatively approved a $25,753,592 budget for fiscal year 2019 during its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, May 24. This is an increase of 11.14 percent from the previous year.

CAFMA’s budget is almost entirely comprised of monies transferred from the Central Yavapai Fire District (CYFD) and the Chino Valley Fire District (CVFD). The only revenue CAFMA generates on its own comes from fees for service, which generate about $850,000 to $1,000,000 annually, said CAFMA Chief of Administration David Tharp.

“These fees for service are accounted for in the budget and help offset revenues that would be otherwise needed to be additional tax levy,” Tharp said.

The CVFD and CYFD boards approved their individual tentative budgets on May 24 before CAFMA’s board approved its budget. CVFD’s tentative budget was approved unanimously and CYFD’s was approved by a 3 to 2 vote, with ViciLee Jacobs and Tom Steele casting the opposing votes.

Both board members expressed a number of concerns about how money is being spent from the district’s budget. Jacobs asked about several line items in CAFMA’s budget, including the cost of weight equipment, the honor guard and awards.

“I’m trying to find ways we can cut the budget,” Jacobs said.

Since each of the budgets approved are the tentative budgets, there will be a voting session in June to determine final approval. In the meantime, the boards can choose to reduce them before final approval, but may not increase them, Tharp said.

The following are the current property tax rates for CYFD and CVFD and how they will change with the fiscal year budgets:

CYFD tax rate for 2018 (current year): $2.5598, which brings the total tax on a $200,000 home to about $512.

CYFD tax rate for 2019 (proposed rate): $2.5964, an increase of 1.43 percent. The total tax on a $200,000 is about $519.

CVFD tax rate for 2018 (current year): $3.2492, bringing the total tax on a $200,000 home to about $650.

CVFD tax rate for 2019 (proposed rate): $3.2499, an increase of 0.02 percent. The total tax on a $200,000 home is about $650.

These increases are in line with projections presented by CAFMA Chief of Planning and Logistics Scott Bliss at previous meetings. To see a graph of those projections, go to https://bit.ly/2FFHhCH.

FIREFIGHTER WAGE INCREASE

Included in each fire board’s tentatively approved 2018-2019 fiscal budgets are proposed pay increases for starting firefighters.

If unchanged for the final budget approval in June, the proposal will raise new recruit’s wages from $14 to $14.71.

The raises were proposed by the United Yavapai Firefighters Association in March to address recruitment and retention concerns.

Mike Kontz, vice president of the United Yavapai Firefighters Association and president of its CAFMA chapter, believes this moderate increase is a big first step toward helping CAFMA be a more competitive employer.

“Hopefully bringing that starting wage up will help draw some more people to the area for us, and it also helps with retention of our employees,” Kontz said.

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