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Mayor backs big bucks for fire, EMS

May 09, 2001

Mayor backs big bucks for fire, EMS



By KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI

kimy@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO -  Fire and rescue companies in Boonsboro have a friend in Mayor Charles "Skip" Kauffman.

When Kauffman was elected mayor in 1988 he made a promise to the town.

"It's been a goal to increase the amount the town gives to the fire and rescue companies each year by $1,000," he said.

In 1988, the town gave the First Hose Co. of Boonsboro and Boonsboro Ambulance and Rescue Inc. each $1,000. Last fiscal year the town gave each $10,000.

During a Town Council meeting Monday Kauffman said he plans to include a $12,000 donation to both companies in the fiscal 2002 budget.

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"They provide a valuable service that we certainly appreciate," said Kauffman.

The few times when the town hasn't been able to increase the allotment they made up for it in subsequent budgets, he said.

Kauffman's fiscal 2002 budget must be adopted by Town Council by June 30.

"We're fortunate," said Boonsboro Fire Chief Keith Albrecht.

The money from the town will go into the fire company's general fund and be used to pay for utilities, he said.

Albrecht said the company's finances are "extremely tight" and every contribution helps. The fire company has no paid personnel and relies mostly on fund-raising efforts to get by, he said.

"People have been very supportive," he said.

Boonsboro has a coverage area of 3,500 households and firefighters went on about 450 calls last year.

EMS officials at Boonsboro Ambulance were unavailable to comment.

Boonsboro provides the largest contributions to its fire and rescue companies of any town in Washington County.

Smithsburg, which is the closest in population to Boonsboro, included a $1,600 donation to each of its companies in its tentative fiscal 2002 budget.

Clear Spring typically provides the fire and ambulance companies with $1,500 and in Hancock they get $4,000 each.

Funkstown's Town Council gave the town's fire department $2,000 in fiscal 2001. This year officials plan to include a $500 donation to Community Rescue Service.

In Williamsport, the fire and rescue companies submit bills to the town for its equipment. Williamsport pays up to $8,000 for the fire department and $6,000 to the ambulance company.

Providing a substantial donation to the companies saves the town money in the long run, said Kauffman.

"If we had to provide the service the tax rate would have to go up drastically," he said.

Emergency medical service workers will be feted this month during "EMS Week," said Kauffman.

"We can't think of a better way to honor them than with a contribution," said Kauffman.

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