Member Fee System
Member Fee System Description
The Board of Directors adopted the revised member fee system as part of the FY18/19 budget process. The fee system is designed to achieve the following objectives:
- Accurately assess each member for the services provided to their area, while benefiting from cost sharing of the regional delivery of overall services.
- Provide a method, based on the adopted budget, which can be updated with transparency each year, including a return of excess fund balance from the prior fiscal year.
- Provide an opportunity for individual members to have some control of their costs, based on their community’s risk tolerance, with minimal financial impact to the other members.
- Provide a method to accurately and transparently assess the impact of new or separating members, by restructuring the member fee based on estimated cost adjustments.
The method provides a direct cost for staffing the Engine or Truck Company first due area in the UFA member’s municipality or Salt Lake County and a shared cost for all the services that are regional. The regional costs are broken into Service Delivery, Support Services and Capital Replacement and shared equally between all the engine and truck companies, regardless of crew size.
- Service delivery includes those costs involved in providing service directly to the communities; EMS transport, battalion chiefs, fire inspection, fire investigation, bomb squad, community events, and station operational costs are examples of regional service delivery
- Support services includes those costs that support the service delivery; Fire training, EMS training, administration, finance, human resources, information technology, and most of logistics are examples of regional support services
- Capital Replacement is the debt service required to fund our capital replacement plan.
The adopted method makes it very simple to determine the cost of services for a community. For FY21/22, every three-person crew cost $2,232,603 and a four-person crew costs $2,654,017. This cost provides the full service as described above. As an example, a three-station municipality who staffs one three-person crew at each station would cost $6,504,846. The additional ambulances are part of the total agency service delivery with their cost and revenue shared by all municipalities and factored into the member fee system.
When first due areas overlap between members, the percentage of emergency incidents within the member’s portion of the first due area, over a three-year period, determines the percentage of that member’s use of the engine/truck companies assigned to that station.
- Example: If 72% of the incidents one station is responding to were in one member’s community, that member would pay for 72% of the staffing and regionalized costs for that station.
The individual member fee is determined by establishing the percentage of service provided by the engine and truck companies covering their community. The budget document will display the actual cost, based on that percentage, which each member pays for every division in the UFA. With the example above, Cottonwood Heights has three stations serving their community, however, they only are responsible to fund 1.71 of those stations in FY21/22 due to this overlap between members, reducing the cost to $4,188,982.
After establishing the member fee for the fiscal year, the under expend from the prior year budget is credited back to the member. This credit is based on the percentage of the total member fee that member paid.
A member wishing to control their costs can do so during the annual budget process and through staffing levels inside of their first due response areas, where they are paying for 51% or more of the service. Each member has the opportunity to determine their risk tolerance for the community. The Fire Chief will assist the member in understanding their risk and will determine the level of risk tolerance for the firefighters providing the service.
A city requesting to join the UFA will require an analysis of their response area to determine a new proportional breakdown for all members. Each division will evaluate the impact of service to the new city. Typical impacts include station staffing and operating costs, fire prevention and investigation and adjustment to the capital replacement plan. This would cause a modification of the regionalized cost for engine and truck companies, thereby affecting the individual member fees.
A member separating from the UFA will modify the total cost of service in the same way as a new member joining. The direct costs for station staffing and any divisional budgetary reductions, if applicable, resulting from the member separating from service is removed from the total member fee. This causes a modification of the regionalized cost for engine and truck companies, thereby affecting the individual member fees.
The UFA budget document will include a section on proposed member fees based on the proposed budget with a breakdown of station staffing and regionalized services for each member. The adoption of the annual budget will finalize the individual member fees.
- First Due area: The geographical area that the station serves where they are closer than any other station. These engine or truck companies assigned to that station are normally “first due” on incidents in this geographical area.
- Engine Company: A crew of three or four firefighters working on an apparatus with the capability of pumping water. The apparatus carries the tools necessary to assist the firefighters in solving most problems they face, including medical emergencies.
- Truck Company: A crew of three or four firefighters working on an apparatus with a fixed aerial ladder, a large assortment of ground ladders and the capability of pumping water. The apparatus carries the tools necessary to assist the firefighters in solving most problems they face, including medical emergencies.
- Total Member Fee: The total cost of UFA services less any external revenue.
- Individual Member Fee: The cost of services for each member.
- Incidents in the first due area: The total number of incidents inside the station’s first due geographical boundary, regardless of the type of incident or which unit is responding.
- Fully loaded cost of a 24/7 crew: The total cost to staff one engine or truck company in its first due area along with the overtime required to maintain full staffing.
Service Demand Proportioning Among UFA Members
Proportioning Service Map
FY21/22 Member Fee Breakdown by Station
FY21/22 Member Fee Chart
Division budgets broken out by each UFA Member