Brainerd's 2005 proposed fire contracts with surrounding cities and townships won't include equipment depreciation but will include the cost of equipment purchases.
The Brainerd Personnel and Finance Committee on Wednesday recommended the city council approve the fire contract formula for the 12 surrounding cities and townships the Brainerd Fire Department serves. The proposal does not include equipment depreciation, which has been included in the past, but it does include a total of $50,000 toward fire equipment purchases.
The result will be an overall increase for fire service for all 13 entities, including the city of Brainerd, served by the Brainerd Fire Department -- from $973,000 in 2004 to $1,151,000 in 2005. Of that amount, residents of Brainerd pay about 55 percent.
Brainerd Fire Chief Kevin Mahle said he was concerned about the contract increases, especially if it forces some cities or townships not to renew with the city. He noted 85 percent of his department's budget goes toward personnel costs and overall costs for the department wouldn't decrease by the percentage currently paid by other entities.
"If we lose contract areas I don't see a budget reduction that's proportional," said Mahle. "We're going to have to make that up somewhere else if we lose them."
Committee and council member Bob Olson, however, said he was in favor of the contract proposals.
"I think it's time this council bites the bullet and gets a contract that's fair and equitable to the districts -- they are our customers -- and to the citizens of Brainerd," said Olson.
Olson said whether to continue the fire contracts is a choice that will have to be made by the elected officials of each entity.
The committee initially discussed including the total $150,000 in equipment purchases in the fire district contract proposal, but committee chairman Kelly Bevans said he was concerned the city would go from zero dollars spent on equipment in 2003 and 2004 to $150,000 in 2005.
The city council will discuss this fire contracts during its meeting Tuesday.
Fire protection costs
Cost of Brainerd fire protection for cities and townships:
2004 payment 2005 proposed
Brainerd $533,125 $632,932
Baxter $167,787 $200,162
Center $3,183 $4,153
Crow Wing $24,797 $30,340
Daggett Brook $3,662 $4,641
East Gull Lake $39,230 $46,695
Fort Ripley Twp. $14,473 $16,965
Long Lake $20,609 $24,770
Maple Grove $13,280 $15,392
Nokay Lake $12,948 $14,417
Oak Lawn $39,873 $45,764
St. Mathias $8,424 $9,645
Unorganized $91,603 $105,242
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