“We have three big fundraisers. We spend more time on them than fighting fires.”
— Dale McNeal, ULVFD
by Elizabeth Cogar
Skyrocketing costs of firefighting equipment and maintenance are dramatically outpacing the increases in funding Lancaster’s volunteer fire departments receive annually. That was the message eight firefighters from the Kilmarnock, White Stone and Upper Lancaster volunteer fire departments shared with the Lancaster board of supervisors at a fiscal year 2019-20 budget work session March 26.
All five supervisors attended the work session, Jason Bellows of District 3, Jack Larson of District 1, Dr. Bob Westbrook of District 5, Ernest Palin of District 2 and Bill Lee of District 4. Fire department volunteers present were Roy Hall and Ryan Gordon of Kilmarnock; CD Hathaway, Robbie Lamkin and Dan Sanders of White Stone; and Daniel Akers, Dale McNeal and Danny Akers of Upper Lancaster. Emergency management services captain Matt Smith, county administrator Don Gill and board clerk Crystal Whay were also in attendance.
Gill provided a summary detailing financial contributions from the county and state to the three fire departments dating back to fiscal year 2014. The county has increased its portion an average of 2% per year over the last four years, and the state’s has stayed about level.
Meanwhile, Gordon said, “Our expenses are going through the roof…