By SUNNY LOCKWOOD
More cash for equipment and personnel are part of the Murphys Fire Protection District's 2003-04 budget, adopted unanimously by district directors last night.
The $237,497 budget is $28,274 larger than last year's, also allotting more money for small tools and election expenses.
Director and former interim chief Phil Phillips said he, board Treasurer Vickie Mills and Fire Chief Bob Pereira worked together on the spending plan.
He said the $65,988 for salaries and employee benefits an increase of nearly $10,000 from last year includes a weekend firefighter. Both Pereira and Phillips have emphasized the need for paid help on the weekends, when volunteers might not be available.
Another increase from last year is the $81,501 earmarked for equipment. Phillips said this includes two fire engines already purchased from Union City and a pickup truck.
He said the special expenses from $9,243 last year to $18,000 this year are largely because the district must pay for two elections at $7,000 each.
In June, the district held a special election on a proposed parcel fee. Although 61 percent of the voters approved the idea, the margin was short of the two-thirds required for passage.
On Nov. 4 the district will hold an election to fill two seats on its board and voters will decide whether to increase the Gann limit the cap on what the district can spend from tax revenues. As growth results in more tax revenue being collected, the district must ask the voters to increase the amount it can spend.
Phillips told the board that a good portion of the 2003-04 budget reflects donations the district has received to help buy the new engines.