OFM - 02-03-01
Public Fire Safety Guidelines
To identify considerations for analyzing municipal economic circumstances.
Elected officials are responsible for the economic well-being of the community, and measure this in a number of ways. One such way would be with a balanced budget containing no tax increases. This does not necessarily give a complete or clear picture of the community's economic circumstances. For many years various budgetary systems, approaches, and formats have been developed in the continuing quest for political objectivity by elected officials. By the very nature of democracy, which is based on representative elections and the "politics" associated with them, mitigates against objectivity in the usual sense. Such budgeting and/or financial planning could be therefore defined as a rational decision making system working within a less than rational political process.
It is therefore essential that the economic circumstances of a community be thoroughly and objectively analyzed, in addition to the assessment of the existing fire protection system, and risk assessment, if an accurate representation is to be made of the community.
Factors to be considered in assessing the local economic circumstances, include the following:
- increases (decreases) in past 5 and 10 years
- tax rates :
- show local and regional/county purposes
5 and 10 year history of increases (decreases)
- urban and rural service areas, if any
- municipal debt
- reserve funds
- other monetary assets
such as development charge accounts
- total fire protection system costs
- per capita basis
- assessment basis
- per household
- employment, unemployment conditions
- relationship of all of the above in the general area of the local community
- affect on the ability of the municipal tax base to fund appropriate fire protection services
- relationship of all of the above with similar communities
- past and present political philosophy respecting
- budget increases/decreases
- pay as you go
service (budget reductions) necessitated by reduced revenues
- loss impact of single employer, major industry, institution
- barriers to rebuilding, such as zoning and environmental requirements
Codes, Standards, Best Practices:
Codes, Standards, and Best Practices resources available to assist in establishing local policy on this assessment are listed below. All are available at www.ontario.ca/firemarshal. Please feel free to copy and distribute this document. We ask that the document not be altered in any way, that the Office of the Fire Marshal be credited and that the documents be used for non-commercial purposes only.