ESD approves budget amendments


By Christine Bolaños

Williamson County ESD #4 Commissioners approved end-of-year budget amendments and budget overview during their Oct. 19 regular meeting.

Specifically, the ESD approved moving $1,400 in the payroll account to the utilities water account and moving $3,000 from payroll to the vehicle apparatus brake repair account.

“We spent about 105 percent of our electric, gas, and water rates,” Fire Chief Anthony Lincoln said. “Our sewage rate went up. We spent $1,100 more than we had budgeted.”

The ESD spent 11 percent over budget on vehicle pumps.

“We were overdrawn by $2,800 and that was probably the one we got hit the hardest this year,” Lincoln explained. One recently purchased axel alone cost more than $3,000.

“None of that stuff is real cheap to keep going,” he added.

On special projects, the ESD spent 99 percent of its budget. $8,795 went toward a thermal engine camera when one of them was destroyed.

The ESD was on or under budget for the majority of items.

“Right now, of the total budget, we spent about $120,000,” Lincoln said. “I’m going to guess we have maybe less than $4,000, $5000 at the most, of fees that haven’t come in yet to pay so that’s still way up there.”

The Fire Chief then talked about the budget amendments.

The $1,400 transferred from payroll to utilities water will make that account sound, according to Lincoln.

The $3,000 transferred from payroll to vehicles apparatus brake repair account will make it sound.

“Other than the $4,000 or so that may be out there on some receipts and bills I haven’t got in … that will bring us back to where none of our accounts are overdrawn,” Lincoln explained.

With the amount of money collected and the amount budgeted but unused, the ESD is looking at about $273,000 more than estimated.

“There’s not any projects that we didn’t do,” he pointed out. “A lot of it is projections. Some of them are projects that we got done at the end of the year anyway.”

A lot of time the fire station will use money left over at the end of the fiscal year to cover big-ticket items before the new fiscal year begins, he said.

The 2015-16 fiscal year took effect Oct. 1.

“So far everything seems like it’s worked like we wanted it to,” Lincoln said.

Commissioners approved authorizing First Texas Bank to reauthorize the ESD’s security pledge. They also gave the green light to a corporate authorization resolution with the bank to allow for the ESD’s payroll transactions.

Commissioners authorized Medack & Oltmann, LLP to perform the 2014-15 annual audit. President Sandra Taylor expressed her thoughts that it was good to change auditing companies to help everyone stay on track.

“I think with Medack finishing out this year, with the past we’ve had, I think it’s a good way to finish out the audit and hopefully we can get a great audit this time,” Taylor said.

The short meeting included the monthly Fire Chief’s report.

The ESD responded to 125 incidents in September. Of those, 61 percent were rescue and medical, 9 percent were fire response, 9 percent were service calls/citizen assists, 16 percent were good intent calls and 6 percent were false alarm/false call.

Compared to August, response time inside the city limits went down slightly from 5 minutes and 56 seconds to 5 minutes and 37 seconds. In district response time stayed nearly the same with average response time of 10 minutes and 22 seconds in August and 10 minutes and 23 seconds in September.

Out of district response time went up about eight minutes due to Liberty Hill’s response to a fire last week in Jarrell.

Average district response time was 8 minutes compared to 8 minutes and 26 seconds in 2014.

Lincoln said the ESD is in the planning stage of live burn training and determining what facility to hold the training.

Lincoln and another individual planned to visit Jeremy Casares at a burn center in San Antonio. The part-time WCESD #4 firefighter, who works full-time with the Austin Fire Department, was injured over the weekend in an Austin fire. He suffered second-degree burns to his body.

All action was made in a 3-0 vote with Commissioners Todd Jackson and James Crabtree absent from the meeting.

The next meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 23 at the fire station.