County Fire Departments Dealing With Budget Cuts

By: Melissa Warren Email
By: Melissa Warren Email

Budget cuts mean making tough decisions for Warren county volunteer fire departments. These departments are now making the most of what they have following a ten percent cut in county funding.

That percentage amounts to $45,000 the nine Warren county volunteer fire departments will lose, at a time when some departments were already struggling.

"Some departments are actually dipping into reserves now to make ends meet because income is just not keeping up with what our expenses are," said Warren County Fire Chiefs Association Secretary and Woodburn Fire Chief Bob Skipper.

Warren county has that same revenue verses expenses issue. County Judge Executive Mike Buchanon suggested solving with an insurance premium tax.

"When that failed their only option was to start cutting what they're paying out," said Skipper.

Now the fire departments are forced to decide how to cut spending.

"What we're proposing is that cut come from the maintenance budgets for the trucks and for the fire stations," said Skipper.

Skipper says this isn't ideal, but the least detrimental. At his department in Woodburn, they haven't been forced to look to reserves yet, but the funding hasn't increased either.

"The problem with that is our district is growing. We're getting more houses, larger buildings, and taller buildings, and we have a need for additional equipment that we can't afford, such as an aerial apparatus," said Skipper.

He says they will soon be due for newer trucks, and it's not just the big expense that add up.

"The day to day expenses keep growing. If you look, fuel is just going through the roof, and those costs hit us as well," said Skipper.

Skipper says it's the residents who will ultimately suffer with higher homeowners insurance rates.

Skipper will present the plans for the budget cuts to the Warren County Fiscal Court tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.

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