Fire company serving up more fundraisers

April 12, 2010|By JULIE E. GREENE

FUNKSTOWN -- With its annual fund drive down a bit last fiscal year, Funkstown Volunteer Fire Co. added all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts to its arsenal of fundraisers this fiscal year.

Even so, the fire company is not expected to make budget, President Dale Hill said.

The annual fund drive hasn't hit its target yet this year and the breakfasts haven't made up the difference, but it takes time to establish a new fundraiser, fire company officials said.

The pancake breakfasts aren't as big an attraction as the chicken barbecues, but attendance grew since the first breakfast in November, said Lori Kinsey, who coordinates special events for the fire company.

The first five pancake breakfasts combined raised about $200, Hill said.

The barbecues raise about $10,000 a year, said Patty Johnston, who chairs the barbecue committee.

The fire company's budget for the fiscal year ending June 30 projects a $16,861 deficit, but Hill said it might be bigger.


The annual $75,000 fund drive fell short by $3,000 to $4,000 last fiscal year and collections are at approximately $66,000 so far this year, said 1st Vice President Larry Iseminger, who chairs the fundraising committee. Company officials are debating whether to send a third mailing to see if they can get more subscribers in their coverage area, he said.

Households who make the annual $35 donation don't get billed for the company's services if they have a fire, Hill said.

"It's some tough times for everybody right now," so people have less discretionary money to spend, Hill said.

The pancake breakfasts will return in the fall, when the fire company might also have some spaghetti dinners, Hill said.

Iseminger said bingo night revenue is running ahead of budget and could hit $40,000 in profits this year, which would be about $3,000 above budget. Most of the bingo night revenue comes from tip jars, he said.

To keep expenses down, the company will do emergency repairs at the station, but the budget does not include general maintenance repair to the fire hall. So missing shingles on the front facade will not be replaced yet and half the roof will not get a new cover, Hill said. The last time that section of roof was recovered was about 20 years ago.

Hill said the primary goal is to keep equipment -- vehicles and protective gear -- up to standard.

The fire company still has 10 years of $43,000 annual payments to make on the $453,000 pumper truck it bought two years ago, and $30,000 left on the 2000 rescue squad truck, Hill said. Both vehicles replaced aging equipment.

Other expenses include turnout gear, which can cost more than $2,000 a set, Hill said.

The fire company has applied for a federal grant to buy 25 to 30 sets of turnout gear, Hill said. If it doesn't get the grant, the fire company budgeted money to buy 16 sets, he said.

Upcoming fundraisers:

  • Chicken barbecues, last Saturday of every month through September

  • Bingo every Thursday at the fire hall. Doors open at 5 p.m.; first game starts at 6:50 p.m.

  • Double bingo, April 24. Doors open at 4 p.m.; first game starts at 6 p.m.

  • Duck race in Antietam Creek, in which numbered plastic ducks are dropped off the Funkstown bridge off Frederick Street. Aug. 28, 2 p.m.

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