Savings to taxpayers -- the first two years

The board of the Orland Fire Protection District is mandated by the voters to cut costs where possible without impacting the professional quality of the ability of the OFPD to provide services. Savings can be achieved in two areas, the corporate budget, which requires a review and will take longer to achieve, and in personnel, which can be addressed sooner.

RELEASE May 22, 2012

Orland Fire Protection District Releases projected cost savings for 2012 budget


Orland Fire Protection District

Budget Cuts & Changes Resulting in Savings For Taxpayers

This is the first time in 5 years that the Orland Fire Protection Budget has been below $30 million. Had we not acted, instead of being lower, it would have been as much as $1 million higher this year under the past spending pattern of the prior OFPD leadership.

Some Major Cuts:

Change in # of employees needed during shifts      $500,000
[Note: Not hiring the 11 new firefighters, we were still able to bring the costs of overtime down by as much as $500,000 a year without the additional hiring. We did reduce the number of total individuals on a shift from 30 to 28 which resulted in the $500,000 savings which is noted in the first item.]

Change in workman’s comp carrier                      $500,000
Change in health insurance costs                          $200,000
Elimination of a Deputy Chief                              $150,000
Change in admin staff                                         $  32,000
Retired debt early                                               $232,000
($90,000 total interest savings)
Public Education reduction                                  $  68,000
IT restructure                                                    $  14,000

ACTUAL CUTS:                                            $1,696,000

Reduction in Battalion Chiefs                               $400,000

TOTAL IDENTIFIED SAVINGS                    $2,096,000

Had no effort been made to address budget spending and the budget spending had continued at the pace it was on before the new leadership took control of the board, the 2012 budget would easily have increased over the 2011 by between $500,000 and $1 million.

That means that in addition to the above cuts in which savings can be seen comparing this year to the past year, we also prevented spending that would have taken place, also, that would have increased last year’s budget even higher.

We reduced the budget between $500,000 and $1 million simply by changing our priorities and through cost efficiency awareness. Added to that savings are the reductions listed above which total $1.696 million. 

The actual overall savings in terms of what the budget would have been without any action equates to an actual reduction in spending that is $2.196 million to $2.696 million. That compares this year’s budget as it now stands with what this year’s budget would have been had we not taken any action at all and had spending continued its upward drift as it surely would have.

Included in this is the restructuring of the OFPD Battalion Chief duties, and the elimination of two of the six Battalion Chiefs, which saved the district  about $400,000 in salaries including benefits.

And we did this with our hands tied, since the majority of the budget spending involves employee contracted wages that are subject to negotiations with the union, giving us the ability to make actual cutbacks on that portion of the remaining budget that is non-wage related, or about 15 percent of the budget.

Jim Hickey
OFPD President


Total Taxpayer Savings: $683,000

Savings & Costs by date:

- July 26, 2011: OFPD accepts retirement of Operations Deputy Chief Joseph Madden. The position will remain unfilled and save taxpayers $197,000 a year.
Savings $197,000
- June 28, 2011: OFPD Board votes to retire two notes, one set to expire in 2016. Retiring the notes early will save taxpayers $110,000 in interest payments on the notes. (Notes were retired at the July 26 meeting)
Savings: $110,000
- June 2011: Not filling the vacant position of Battalion Chief
Savings $215,000
- June 2011: Reducing board meetings to one per month
Savings $60,000
- June 2011: Change in the wages of the Human Resources Director from $73,000 to $68,000.
Savings $5,000.
- June 2011: Elimination of the Public Education director, salaried at $47,000.
Savings $47,000.
- June 2011: Reduction in the salary of the Executive Secretary to the board, salaried at $65,000 reduced to $37,000.
Savings of $28,000.
-June 2011: Reduction in the consulting fee for communications, previously $48,000 reduced to $36,000 for Ray Hanania and Urban Strategies Group.
Savings of $12,000.
-June 2011: Hiring lobbyist Cheryl Axley
Cost $60,000
- May 25, 2011: hiring Del Galdo Law Group
Savings $48,000
- May 25, 2011: Two trustees (Blair Rhode, Chris Evoy) declining their trustee salaries
Savings $6,000
- May 25, 2011: Hiring Cindy Katsenes ($25,000) replacing Tom Dubelbeis ($40,000)
Savings $15,000

The board approved a new section on the Web Site called Dollars & Sense to post all public records to minimize responses to Freedom of Information Act requests seeking those documents. Each FOIA requests required a staff employee and attorney to review the requests and then issue a determination as to which document(s) could be released. Now documents are released and can be obtained from the web site without going through staff.