By Megan Hansen
Things are going to be tight for Southeast Thurston Fire and EMS during its 2010 fiscal year.
Revenue for the fire department is estimated to be $180,000 to $210,000 less this year.
Property values are going down, said Chief Rita Hutcheson.
Expenditures that will be cut include public education and conferences.
“We knew this year was going to be challenging,” Hutcheson said. “Our priorities are people and fire trucks.”
The budget, however, will accommodate an additional firefighter.
Adding another position will balance the overtime budget and ultimately cost the department less, Hutcheson said.
She is in the process of reviewing applications on file and anticipates hiring someone in February.
While the department is having to tighten its purse strings, additional revenue donated by JZ Knight will be used to cover some cut items.
Knight pledged to donate $100,000 to the department over the next year.
Hutcheson set up a separate account to hold those funds.
She said she would rather use the money for more tangible things than just floating the budget.
With Knight’s first donation of $10,000, Hutcheson ordered more than 500 smoke detectors, which will be given to homes that need them.
There shouldn’t be a home without one now, Hutcheson said. “I hope people will ask.”
Some of the donated money will also be used to cover public education costs that are being cut from the budget.
“It’s helping immensely,” Hutcheson said. “It’s allowing us to still do the things in the community.”
Anyone who needs a smoke detector can get one at the Yelm Fire Station, 709 Mill Road.
Nisqually Valley News
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