Finance and Fiscal Management
The Fire Department continues implementation of numerous capital improvement projects, many of which are fully or partially grant-funded. Future Fire Station 17 is progressing on schedule, and we anticipate it will be opened to serve the needs of the public by June of 2022. We took delivery of new Cape Fear Marine 10 in January 2021, which was partially funded through West Coast Inland Navigation District grant (WCIND). We have partnered with the Police Department on a joint dock construction project through WCIND grant, which now serves as a new base for our Marine 10 fire boat.
The Fire Department is also a recipient of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant which is helping with funding of various much-needed equipment in the amount of $337,051 with a 10% grant match from our department, as well as recipient of State Homeland Security Grant, which funds sustainment of previously purchased hazardous materials detection equipment and new equipment purchases in the amount of $35,335 with no match required.
Other capital improvement projects included ADA improvements to Stations 12 & 13. We have also started to remodel kitchens, bathrooms and dayrooms in Stations 12, 13 & 15. We painted the exterior of Station 16 and replaced all bay doors at this station.
We terminated the South Trail Interlocal Agreement which cost the citizens upwards of one million dollars, and have purchased property on Palomino Lane, which will serve as a future Fire Station 19 for the Paseo & Reflection Isles neighborhoods. The station is going to assume fire protection and prevention services effective October 2022.
Lastly, during a budget workshop in July, the City Council voted unanimously to increase the fire assessment fee, as well as update the allocation of calls among property categories based on the calls for service study. The increased fire assessment fee generates approximately $11.5 million in revenue and represents approximately 37% of our budget. The additional revenue is utilized to alleviate pressure on the general fund, as well as to fund thirty additional firefighter positions, one fire inspector position and a quartermaster position. Additionally, the added revenue will fund purchase of Engine 17 for Station 17, Mini Pumper 19 for Station 19, and Tiller 11.