As we look at how best to fund the needs of the Lone Peak Public Safety District I have been doing some homework in two different areas. The first is allocating costs between Alpine, Cedar Hills, and Highland. We presently have a somewhat complicated formula that includes a fixed percent allocation of the budget (10%) to each city and then splitting the remaining costs based on population and ERU’s (Equivalent Residential Unit: non-residential buildings are given 1 ERU per 10,000 sq. ft., homes and accessory apartment are given 1 ERU).
I believe that in order for the district to function most effectively it needs to be managed as one entity rather than 3 cities. If we look at every issue solely from the perspective of our individual city then we look to optimize costs and benefits for ourselves than what is best for everyone. In any organization when members take the approach that my needs matter more than the others' then the group eventually fails (everyone loses).
As I thought about the district as a stand-alone entity and then contemplated how the costs might be divided among it serves I came up with three allocation models:
- ERU based: Costs would be divided between the cities based on the number of ERU’s in each.
- Population based
- Value of taxable property.This simulates what we would each be paying in property tax if the district had the power to tax. Note, anyone can use a Utah State Government website “Utah Certified Tax Rates” to find this information (log in as a guest).
The following charts show how costs would have shifted between cities had one of these other models been used for each of the components of the 2017/18 Public Safety Budget (Police, Fire, & Administration).
The second item I looked at was fire service call data as the fire department requested a 23% budget increase over last year. Here is what I found:
Below are tables that show time stats for calls. A call is measured at 4 different points of time:
- Call received by dispatch
- Request sent to station
- Station personnel enroute
- Personnel arrived at call
According to the Fire Chief occasionally calls will be received but they will be instructed to wait to head out. You’ll notice that the max time to arrival is over 3 hrs. This is certainly not the norm as the average is time from call received by dispatch to arrival at destination for all call types is 9:42.