Volunteer Firefighter International

Texas Volunteer Fire Depts. Push Back Against Funding Cuts

By Sean Batura, Kerrville Daily Times:

Some volunteer fire departments in Kerr County have objected to the budget proposed by Kerr County Judge Rob Kelly.

Kelly’s budget, which calls for no increase in the property tax rate, makes large cuts in order to acheive a small deficit compared to previous years — a $11,144 shortfall, compared to this year’s $2.7 million deficit — while dealing with all the unforeseen expenses and shortfalls associated with the pandemic. One of the proposed cuts is allocations to volunteer fire departments.

“We are aware of the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and understand the need to cut budgets for cost savings,” said the Center Point Volunteer Fire Department in a post on its Facebook.com page. “We do not understand how the county can expect our departments to continue to run efficiently and serve the citizens of the county effectively if we can not keep the lights on or fuel in our apparatus.”

The VFD’s post goes on to state that if the county does cut funding to local fire agencies, then it could mean having to respond to fires driving vehicles with tires that need to be replaced, “putting them and anybody else on the road in danger.” Or, it could mean firefighters responding to blazes wearing damaged gear or not enough protection, or using “a frayed rope bag” to pull a flood victim to safety, the post stated.

“Your Kerr County firefighters spend countless hours training, meeting and responding to emergencies to protect you and expect nothing in return other than a small percentage of your tax dollars to continue operating,” CPVFD posted.

The Turtle Creek Volunteer Fire Department also had something to say about the proposed cuts.

“How can the judge balance the budget of over $2 million by taking (funding) of $200,000 away from nine (VFDs)?” posted the VFD on its Facebook page.

Read the full story here.

Image: Kerrville Daily Times

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