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Collective Solutions
2023-10-25

            Municipalities are short on money; emergency services groups are short on money.  Yes, it is a problem that needs to be addressed. But how?

            In one year the volunteer fire company can: hold four bake sales ($2,000), four boot drives ($12,000), one carnival ($15,000), four flea markets ($2,000), and two chicken barbecues ($8,000).

            Now all we need to do is find enough volunteers to hold the events.  Oh yes, don't forget the $17,000 in donations (based on 17 percent of 1,000 households donating $100 each).

            That brings the total to $56,000 – not close to the six-figure amount it takes to operate a volunteer fire company and plan for its future.

            These are rough guesses, but I hope you get the point.  If your costs are going up, so are those of the volunteer fire companies and all emergency services.  If only 17 percent of households donate, who will make up the difference needed to maintain the service?

            Oops, according to Pennsylvania Law, it is the responsibility of the local government.  Yes, the local elected council members and elected supervisors are the ones responsible for making the decisions and allocating the taxpayers' money.

            According to Pennsylvania Statute, Title 8, Subsection 1202 a borough is responsible: To ensure that fire and emergency medical services are provided within the borough by the means and to the extent determined by the borough, including the appropriate financial and administrative assistance for these services. The borough shall consult with fire and emergency medical services providers to discuss the emergency services needs of the borough. The borough shall require any emergency services organization receiving borough funds to provide to the borough an annual itemized listing of all expenditures of these funds before the borough may consider budgeting additional funding to the organization.

            Folks, you elected them now let them know your thoughts on the matter.

            Organizations, provide that itemized listing of all expenditures of those funds provided by the borough.  It's the law.

            Putting a tax increase up for a voter referendum may not be a good idea.  If only 17 percent of households donate to the volunteer fire company, how many will vote for a tax increase to support the volunteer fire company?

            My bet is that's probably the amount of votes a tax increase for emergency services would get.

            Education is key.  Local folks need to know that volunteers can be firefighters, fire police, business-savvy people, or those who are willing to help organize and run fundraisers.  There are volunteer jobs to do where they don't have to be ready to drop what they're doing and respond to emergency calls.  There are volunteer jobs to do where you don't have to worry about whether today is the day you won't come home.

            Many folks have good ideas for raising money and saving money.  Attend your local government meetings and learn all you can about the budgeting process, share your thoughts.

            Join your local organization, attend the meetings, offer your suggestions, and most of all actively participate as a volunteer.

            Collective solutions can only benefit the community.


 

 

 

 

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