By Aila Boyd
A resolution designating a fire and emergency medical services (EMS) reserve fund was passed by the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors on December 19.
The establishment of the fund comes after several years of informal discussions about the need to set aside funding for future fire and EMS apparatus needs. The fire and EMS budget review process in 2016 served as the catalyst for the discussions.
A Fire Station Feasibility and Facilities Study from earlier this year confirmed for the county the need for an additional fire station in the Daleville area and other capital facility investments in the future. Discussions between Gary Larrowe, the county administrator, and Jason Ferguson, the chief of fire and EMS, prompted Ferguson and Tony Zerrilla, the finance director, to draft criteria for establishing the fund.
The resolution that was passed outlines the reasoning for establishing the fund, the planned use of the fund, and identifies initial and future funding sources for the fund. Additionally, the resolution includes steps for transferring monies to the fund and how they will be appropriated and disbursed.
According to the section of the resolution titled “Appropriations of the reserve fund monies,” monies placed in the fund must be appropriated by the Board of Supervisors before any expenditure activity can take place. After June 30, which serves as the fiscal year end, monies in the fund shall be re-appropriated. Unused funds will not revert to the General Fund.
The resolution also notes that there is no minimum or maximum dollar amount for balances in the reserve fund. If the Board of Supervisors eventually decides to dissolve the fund, any remaining funds will be transferred to the county General Fund. Also, according to the resolution, supervisors reserve the right to reduce funding for the fire and EMS reserve fund.
Ferguson said that he feels the fund will carry his department into the future by providing a sustainable stream of funds.