GFD's budget increases 10% for next fiscal year - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

GFD's budget increases 10% for next fiscal year

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The budget hearings for the next fiscal year have officially begun, and first up - the Guam Fire Department and the Department of Corrections.

It's that time of the year again. GFD Is requesting $39,613,305, this is a $3,537,658, or roughly 10% increase from our current Fiscal Year 2015 budget. And today the Committee on Appropriations convened the first of several budget hearings for the next fiscal year. GFD was first at bat, and Fire Chief Joey San Nicolas said, "Just as in years past, I've worked closely with BBMR and DOA to ensure we have a realistic budget that achieves our priorities for this organization while understanding that we must be as conservative as possible."

San Nicolas says the budget outlines GFD's priority to ensure its personnel consisting of firefighters, e-911 emergency medical dispatchers and administrative non-uniform employees and mechanics are led, paid, trained and equipped to perform their duties. "We are once again confident this will sustain our current progress in improving our level of public service," he said.

While he notes the department is challenged with an increased attrition rate, San Nicolas says the General Fund portion accounts for a true personnel cost to include overtime projections, the recruitment of 25 additional firefighters and 8 promotions of uniformed personnel. The budget further reflects an increase in the Fire Life and Medical Emergency (FLAME) Fund, which allows for the procurement of two more ambulances. "The biggest challenge to mention is the full replacement of the E-911 system. We believe we are right at the edge of this and working through one obstacle that can be cleared with collaboration," he said.

The e-911 Special Fund includes an estimated $400,000 a year lease and maintenance for the new 911 system replacement of its current system. In the meantime, just days after an oversight hearings, the Department of Corrections returns to the Guam Legislature, this time on its budget request for $27.6 million for Fiscal Year 2016. Director Jose San Agustin said, "I want you all to keep in mind that this submission dated June 3, 2015 is an estimated supplemental budget."

The budget proposal is about $5 million more than what was received last fiscal year. DepCor management says they submitted a supplemental budget request to take into account the stipulated order by the District Court. Deputy director Carla Borja said, "The two items for the 2016 that need to be supplemented would be the $1 million to GMH for pharmacy services because we already provided GMH moneys to cover 2015 for the services rendering to us this fiscal year, and also the $4 million for the medical, dental, behavioral health services that's also for 2016 budget."

You can view the budget proposals for each of the Government of Guam's 40 Executive Branch and semi-autonomous departments at www.ofbguam.org.
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