“Post a discussion of the finance issues facing your department and outline the style of municipal budgeting your AHJ uses to develop its budget, i.e. Incremental, Performance-Based, Participatory, Zero-Based or Hybrid Approach. Discuss in at least 300 words the type of funding sources presently used for funding your department. Respond to at least two other student’s postings and suggest a possible way to improve their community’s funding of the department.
The topic of this week is funding sources. Unfortunately, my current department is not under the typical funding initiatives because of being active duty military, also not being a fire department plays a significant role. To successfully accomplish this assignment, I will review San Diego County Fire Departments financial situation that is made public. The department is a large department located in the south-west corner of the state. The department is comprised of 343 square miles a population of 1,419,845, 17 miles of coastline extending 3 miles offshore 4,600 acres around Mission Bay Park, 52 fire stations, 9 permanent lifeguard stations (31 seasonal stations during peak period), 892 uniformed Fire personnel, 98 Permanent uniformed Lifeguard personnel, and 246 civilian personnel.
The department budget is $284,905,725 for fiscal year 2020.this includes personal expenses, fringe benefits, as well as utility and non-personal expenses within this $4,752,003 is indebtedness. The budget is constructed primarily from municipal taxes. The county tax rate is 7.750% of this annually a percentage is distributed to the public safety committee to distribute amongst the public safety departments. Funding for all Fire Safe Council of San Diego County programs is derived from various sources, such as agency, foundation, and corporate grants. Some of these organizations are the U.S. Forest service, The San Diego Foundation, SDG&E / Sempra Energy, and The Resource Conservation District of Greater San Diego County. Aside from these organizations the department receives federal assistance during extreme circumstance primarily wildfire situations as well as charitable contributions from both private parties as well as corporate parties. The main issue is the rapid spread of these fires and the population displacement, the assistance of the federal emergency management agency provides resources not only to the state but also the displaced residents to rebuild and return to their homes.
Since I work on a federal military installation, I’m somewhat ashamed to admit that my department tends not to face a whole lot of financial issues. However, it is commonly assumed by those outside the gates of the base that my department is given an open checkbook by the United States Government to purchase any conceivable item on the planet that we could ever want. Unfortunately, this notion couldn’t be further from the truth, as federal tax revnue happens to be some of the most highly-scrutinized funding sources available.
Before my department ever sees any funding, the three branches of government must first pass the federal budget to determine the amount of discretionary funding earmarked for military spending. One article further adds that, “the budget is divided up between different operations and departments within the DOD and between the various military branches” (Abunuwara, 2017). When the amount has been determined for the Air Force; this funding is then filtered down into the various Air Force installations to be spent on everything from operations and maintenance, to research and development. The military installations’ Wing Leadership tends to be the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) and strictly controls how that installation spends this money.
The style of municipal budgeting that our AHJ uses to develop its budget would widely be considered as the incremental approach. One website touted this approach as the easiest to prepare, as all you need is to gather the expenditures from the previous year and add a dollar amount that you feel would be appropriate (Putra, 2009). This explains why our department makes it such a priority to spend every dollar of funding that we’ve been allocated over the fiscal year, which runs from October to September of every year. By being fiscally responsible, our department has the freedom to purchase the items deemed necessary, while almost guaranteeing a funding increase in the year to come.
Federal revenue, given for military spending, is the only source of capital that my department is entitled to use for funding purposes. As a governmental entity, my department is ineligible for grants and funding from federal government organizations, such as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), or the U.S. Department of the Interior (USDOI). This means that funding alternatives from programs like FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) and Staffing for Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant cannot be utilized to supplement funding if needed. Even revenue raised from the sale of used equipment or apparatus to the general public does not make its way back to my department. This is because all excess military property is sent to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA), where it will be sold to recoup taxpayer dollars for future military spending.
Abunuwara, M. (2017, February 23). Military spending. Retrieved November 18, 2019, from https://militarymortgagecenter.com/us-military/us-military-budget/spending/
Putra, L. D. (2009, February 25). Essential five steps on budgeting process. Retrieved November 18, 2019, from http://accounting-financial-tax.com/2009/02/essential-five-steps-on-budgeting-process/