Re-Structuring Camano Island Fire and Rescue's Budget into a Better Management, Communications, and Long-Range Planning Tool [open pdf - 506KB]
"Camano Island Fire and Rescue (CIFR) has operated as a junior taxing district in the State of Washington since 1995. As its own taxing jurisdiction, CIFR levies taxes, manages budgets, and performed mandated reporting to the Washington State Auditor's Office (WSAO). The problem is that CIFR's current budget is overly complex, does not meet new WSAO requirements, and does not support long-range financial planning. The purpose of the research project was to restructure CIFR's current budget for clarity and usability by staff and the general public, better communications capabilities, and compliance with current WSAO requirements. Further, a long range planning tool was developed that integrates the new budget structure. An action research method was chosen for this applied research project. Literature review, budget modifications, data summaries, and excel programming were conducted to answer the following three research question: What budget changes are needed to simplify the current line item budget and ensure its compliance with new WSAO requirements? How can detailed line item budgets best be summarized for ease of use and increased understanding by budget managers and the general public? What type of long range financial planning tool can be developed to facilitate strategic planning efforts? The current line item budget was restructured to comply with new WSAO requirements. Further modifications were made to simplify the overly complex budget and ensure better data integrity. Data summaries were developed to support increased communications to budget managers, administrators, Commissioners, stakeholder groups, and the general public. A long-range financial modeling tool was developed to address planning needs specific to CIFR. Recommendations included better reporting functionality and seamless integration between the district's accounting system and the developed modeling tool to increase usability, functionality, and accuracy. Further, an improved budget process that utilized the new budget and modeling tool was recommended."
U.S. Fire Administration: https://www.usfa.fema.gov