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Fire company hopes to recover lost carnival revenue

June 15, 1999|By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

The Long Meadow Fire Department needs the public's help to offset revenue lost because the company was unable to hold its annual carnival this year, according to Chief Richard M. Roche.

Volunteers at Long Meadow have been aggressively raising funds this year after the fire company lost more than $25,000 with the cancellation of the festival it had held jointly with the Maugansville Fire Department for the past 11 years.

The carnival traditionally had been held at Long Meadow Shopping Center, but the shopping center's owners had told the fire companies more than a year ago that they would not be able to hold the event there beginning this year.

Long Meadow's 1999-2000 mailing fund drive started last week. Donations can be sent to the fire department at 19307 Longmeadow Road, Hagerstown, MD 21742.

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Several other companies in the county are conducting similar drives.

Roche said it is his hope that the public will respond generously to make up for loss of carnival proceeds.

"I feel positive the community will answer our call for help," he said.

Contributions of any amount are accepted and help tremendously, he said.

"We're happy for every penny," he said.

Long Meadow has received more than $1,500 so far in response to the mailing.

The mailing is the company's second largest source of revenue, taking a backseat only to a Washington County allotment of $42,000 annually. In 1998, Long Meadow raised $55,000 through its mailings.

"The mailing is critical" in keeping the company afloat, said Roche.

In anticipation of reduced revenues, Long Meadow has pared back its budget from $195,630 for fiscal 1999 to $168,430 for 2000, he said.

Without the carnival proceeds, the company was forced to slash its fire prevention and education budgets, said Roche.

"We have to be much more frugal now," he said.

The company's budgeted amount for building maintenance dropped from $6,000 to $2,500 in the new budget.

A new roof, furniture and painting will have to be postponed indefinitely and necessary electrical improvements will be done gradually, he said.

In addition, the decreased funding had hampered efforts to save money for a new ladder truck. The company's truck is 25 years old and past its prime, said Roche.

The company has $80,000 set aside for a truck, which costs $500,000.

As a result of the cut in income, Long Meadow could set aside only $20,000 toward the truck instead of the $25,000 it has earmarked for that project in the past.

The cutbacks should not affect public safety but will affect the firefighters, since they won't have money to upgrade their breathing apparatus, he said.

In the past, 40 percent of the 8,000 residents in their district responded with donations, he said.

Their are 3,500 households in the fire company's district, he said.

Each resident and business in the fire company's district should have received a letter from the company last week, he said.

Long Meadow's 14 square miles of coverage area includes Jefferson Boulevard to Sun Valley Drive, Leitersburg Pike to Leitersburg Pike Cinema 10, Marsh Pike to the Pennsylvania state line, Paradise Church Road and Pennsylvania Avenue to Maugans Avenue.

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