SPRINGFIELD, ILL. - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced a $16.5 million fiscal year 2004 budget for the Office of the State Fire Marshal that continues to support fire safety and public education programs.
General fund appropriations for the Office of the State Fire Marshal will be discontinued in fiscal year 2004, primarily due to one-time homeland security spending for both the agency and the Fire Service Institute. An administrative cost for Metro East arson investigations will be picked up by the Fire Prevention Fund.
Office priorities will continue to include working closely with local fire departments to identify hazards throughout the state and to reduce the incidence of fires and explosions. The agency also will continue inspections of fire safety features in day care centers, hospitals and other facilities; investigation of suspicious fires and explosions; inspections to ensure the integrity of boiler and pressure vessels found in manufacturing and chemical processing plants; registration and inspection of petroleum and chemical tanks; training and certification of the state’s network of more than 42,000 firefighters; and the collection of fire incident reports.
A new program to be launched by the agency will regulate and license elevator mechanics and contractors. The budget includes $450,000 to administer this program, which was mandated by last year’s Elevator Safety and Regulation Act.
The fiscal year 2004 budget recommends operating reductions of 8 percent in non-general funds, excluding new funding for administration of the Elevator Safety and Regulation Act. Efficiencies in program administration and the establishment of new program rules allow the elimination of lump sum appropriations for backlog reduction and a number of compliance programs. Other savings will be realized in regular and computer equipment purchases and in operating the agencies vehicle fleet.
A net reduction of 27 primarily administrative positions will reduce agency staffing from the FY03 level of 158 employees to 131. In keeping with Governor Blagojevich’s effort to support and improve public safety in Illinois, the number of inspectors and investigators will remain at its pre-January 1, 2003, level.