Sun City Fire and Medical Department officials will look to enhance the agency’s services through a three-year strategic plan approved by the fire district board.
The plan includes five initiatives for officials to focus upon. The board approved the plan during its July 28 regular meeting. The board continues to meet during the COVID-19 pandemic. The next board meeting will be a workshop 9 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 18 at the district headquarters, 18602 N. 99th Ave., followed by the regular meeting 9 a.m. Tuesay, Aug. 25 at the headquarters.
The board is also offering its meetings through the Zoom meeting app. Call 623-974-2321 for information.
“The strategic plan is a dynamic document that will lead the organization for the next three years,” said Ron Deadman, Sun City fire chief.
The plan’s five initiatives will cover topics including an emergency services delivery and deployment model; comprehensive training and development; analysis and management of data; assessment and prioritizing fire department services, programs and needs; and financial stability and sustainability.
The fifth initiative might be the hardest task for fire department officials.
Because department revenues are almost entirely derived from property taxes, it is limited by a tax rate cap and several pieces of legislation, including property tax limits in the 2012 voter-approved Proposition 117, according to Mr. Deadman.
“The impact of Proposition 117 on the district’s net assessed value tax base remains significant,” he said.
Other impediments over the years included Senate Bill 1421, passed in 2009, that limited tax levy increase for fire districts to no more than 8% of the prior year’s levy (further cut to 5% by Proposition 117); ARS 48-807, passed in 2011, that caps the tax rate to $3.25 per $100 of assessed value; and SB 1428, passed in 2016, that altered the way the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System viewed membership.
While the firefighting and related programs are funded through taxes, the department’s ambulance service is funded through billings for services.
The financial initiative is designed to study financial sustainability and alternative response models. Another aspect is to find methods to reduce the department’s unfunded PSPRS liability, according to Mr. Deadman. The staff will also pursue grants and alternative funding, identify and development partnerships with other agencies and review the capital replacement funding.
“We conservatively expect an approximate 3% increase in tax revenues each of the next three years,” Mr. Deadman explained. “Medical transport revenues is expected to be the same 3% increase during the same period.”
The other initiatives in the plan will address equipment and response modeling, develop a plan for community health care outreach, develop a delivery method for districtwide training, create an internal emergency medical service credentialing program, enhance training technology, becoming a data driven organization, improve data collection and analysis, and take a look at operations and see where they can be improved.