VRFA panel adopts zero-growth budget

With the downturn of the economy still on the minds of local residents, the Valley Regional Fire Authority's Board of Governance adopted a 2013 operating budget with no growth. In fact, the recently adopted budget for next year requires less revenue from taxes and fees than the 2011 budget, the VRFA reports.

"The Board members wanted to see another budget which did not increase taxes or fees," said Eric Robertson, VRFA administrator for the VRFA. "With increases in our cost for employee health care premiums and pension plan contributions, it was a challenge."

The $19 million budget funds the organization and its 120 employees who provide services from five response stations, as well as those assigned to the training, planning and logistics, and administrative divisions."Efficiency from regional delivery of service, as well as realizing savings from our apparatus and other purchases, allowed us to cover the increased costs without raising taxes. All while maintaining the superior level of service to which our citizens are accustomed," Robertson said.

With the budget adopted, the average residential taxpayer will see a $16 decrease in the annual taxes and fees paid to the VRFA during 2013 – the fourth consecutive annual decrease.

Residents and business owners will receive their individual summaries just after the New Year.

Created by a vote of the citizens in 2006, the VRFA began operation on Jan. 1, 2007, and is entering its seventh year of operation providing fire, emergency medical and rescue services for the communities of Algona, Auburn, Pacific and part of unincorporated King County.

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