Chief’s Perspective: A Note from Marshfield Fire Chief, Scott Owen

This article originally appeared in the June-July Newsletter of the Marshfield Fire & Rescue Department, which keeps the public informed of recent events within the department. Learn more about the newsletters here. Read the entire newsletter at this link.

By the time you read this, summer will be half done and soon the kids will be headed back to school. It seems this year we went from winter to summer and it has flown by. Before you know it the Central Wisconsin State Fair will be here. But before that…

It’s budget season and you know what that means—HEADACHES! Putting together the annual budget is a very time consuming, complex, and lengthy process. Utilizing expenditures from the previous year and estimating where we will end up in the cur-rent year, we put together a budget that we feel will fund the department next year while taking into account the need to limit the amount of increases.

Similar to our personal budgets, everything costs more today than yesterday and next year will cost more than this year. How do we meet the needs of the department while limiting the increases? That is the million dollar question! Starting in April department members can submit budget requests for the upcoming budget process. These budget requests are things department members would like to see the department do in the next year such as training classes, station improvements, station maintenance, fire and EMS equipment needs, etc. All of these requests are reviewed and evaluated as needs versus wants. We then include the needs in the line item budget and see where the budget is—if significantly higher, adjustments are made. We try to come to the Police and Fire Commission (PFC) with a fiscally responsible budget.

The department’s proposed budget will be evaluated by the PFC and adjustments/reductions made as they feel are necessary. Once the PFC is comfortable with the proposed budget it will be sent to the City Administrator and Finance Director for technical review and meetings with department heads. Adjustments may be made by the City Administrator (such as removal of items, placing items in different funding sources, etc.).

Once all of the adjustments and technical reviews are done, all of the City budgets will be presented to the Common Council for review, discussion, public comment, and final approval near the end of the year. We look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of Marshfield. If anyone has questions or would like to talk, please feel free to call the department. We thank you in advance for all of your support.

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