By Ben Lawson
Funding a fully volunteer fire department in an expanding community during slow economic times is a difficult challenge – one that the Seymour Volunteer Fire Department must meet while maintaining the quality of their service.
At their monthly meeting last Wednesday, the department’s board of directors discussed a variety of topics, but never strayed too far from funding.
While pleased to have taken in more then $27,000 in new donations from a recent mailing campaign, board member Ron French noted that the number was down from previous funding drives.
“I think the reason some of the donations are down is because new people are donating, but giving smaller amounts,” he said. “But it’s always good to see new names donating.”
The firefighters themselves are all volunteers, but equipment is an issue. The board not only has to keep each member personally equipped, but must deal with maintaining aging vehicles and buildings.
Two fire trucks were recently sent in for maintenance after complaints were issued, but repairs needed to correct the problems were cost prohibitive, so the department will focus on training to help the firefighters compensate.
Maintaining aging equipment is a way the SVFD helps balance between safety and funding. It’s a task they perform better than a lot of other departments in similar situations.
“For a volunteer department, our fleet is 80 percent better than other volunteer departments,” said board chairman Ted Esch.
Funding was not the only subject under discussion at the meeting. Following this month’s officer elections, the board has begun considering new voting procedures. The current system calls for nominations to be named in September, with the vote being taken in Oct. or Nov.
Several ideas were floated about how to simplify the process, such as write in votes, or extending the voting time to allow less active members to participate.
A decision has yet to be made on modifying the vote. The newly elected officers will officially fill their posts at the end of this year.
Balancing Act for SVFD
By Ben Lawson