More funding needed for fire departments

By John Farris | Published Saturday, April 27, 2019

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I read your article from yesterday’s Messenger (April 24) regarding county fire departments funding. While it is true each department receives the same annual stipend from the county, some departments also receive city/ESD funding. Those figures were not included in the values from yesterday’s article, I would like to touch on the basis for the article which was fire department funding.

It was said in the article that “$50,000 for unincorporated areas like that, I think that’s the minimum to keep the doors open.” I can assure you that’s not the case. My department and many others in rural areas rely on fundraising and private donations to keep up with the cost of running a fire department. Last year alone, we spent over $20,000 on vehicle maintenance. The cost of keeping these departments running is continuously going up as well as our call volume. Yet our budgets remain the same.

My goal in writing to you is that you can help all county fire departments secure additional funds from the county going into the years ahead. You can do this by continuing to report on this issue. I know my chief has invited you out to our area and offered to sit and talk with you. I think it would also be worth your time to reach out to the chiefs of each of our county’s 17 departments and ask them individually about the struggles they face operating on a budget that hasn’t seen an increase in the better part of a decade. I hope you can help make a difference.

John Farris
Sand Flat Fire Department

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