By Fritz Tegatz, President, CVFRS
CVFRS is required by its MOA agreement with the Town of Charlotte to provide basic and paramedic level rescue services, and to do so with reasonable and appropriate expenditures. For the last two years, CVFRS has not used its entire budget appropriation; $62,101 last year and $25,000 the year before. CVFRS also pursued a $30,000 grant last year on behalf of the town. This is a clear indication that the organization spends only what it needs and believes in fiscal discipline.
This year, CVFRS is asking for an 18% increase of $148,415 in the organization’s appropriation request to support its operating budget. The entirety of this increase is devoted to personnel expenses; wages and benefits. In order to provide full time ambulance coverage over the past 10 to 15 years, CVFRS has been transitioning from a volunteer rescue service to a paid rescue service. Currently, rescue is staffed by 3 permanent full-time employees and per diem employees, or 43% full-time employees and 57% per diem employees. This increase is to cover the added cost of benefits and payroll for replacing per diem employees with full-time employees. Competition for part time health care workers from a shrinking labor pool is increasing exponentially as a result of covid, and changes to the overall health care system. This trend necessitates the change to full-time employees to guarantee continued staffing coverage. The net result of this increase per $100,000 of property value for Charlotte homeowners will be an increase of $15.80 per year, or a dollar per month.
The budget request also includes $50,000 for the addition of a full-time administrative position. CVFRS is currently managed solely by a single, part-time Business Operation Manager, and the rest of the entire management structure is volunteer based. As with the ambulance staff, the number of volunteer managers for the level of work the Board of Directors currently requires is also shrinking, while the administrative demands of the organization increase yearly as the health care system and government regulations get more complicated.
There are many moving parts to CVFRS, and I am sure many people have lots of questions. In the weeks to follow, CVFRS will be publishing a much more detailed explanation showing cost payroll information and these moving parts. In the meantime, please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.