In Forty Years There Have Been Many Changes in Tredyffrin – Unfortunately Some Things Never Change . . . Fire Company Funding

This topic is Community Matters at its best.  I received an email yesterday with an attached Suburban and Wayne Times newspaper article dated Thursday, July 15, 1971.  A reader was cleaning out his attic and came across this article and forwarded it on to me.   No comment or request to post on Community Matters . . . he  just thought I might find it of interest.  The title of the article is, “Volunteer Firemen’s Financing is Critical”.  (A link to the article at the end of this post.)

The article is based on local volunteer fire companies along the Main Line and Valley Forge, including Radnor, Berwyn and Paoli.  What is both fascinating (and sad) at the same time  is the plea for the volunteer firefighters funding  in 1971 is exactly the same as in 2010.  The tone of the article begs that more support needs be offered by the municipalities served.  In discussing firefighter funding, a fire chief is quoted in the article as saying,  “It has to be done on a municipality basis.  It’s the township’s or borough’s responsibility to provide protection for persons and property. . . . They don’t take the responsibility . . . The volunteers do it.”

In 1970, Tredyffrin supervisors allocated $15,750 to the Berwyn fire company.  Forty years ago, the Berwyn Fire Company had a deficit $1,632, due to lack of volunteer firefighter support.  With populations exploding on the Main Line and aging equipment in 1971, all the fire companies were appealing to the local governments for adequate funding.  There was agreement among the various fire companies, that greater support was required from the service areas.  Here’s a fascinating 40-year old quote, when talking about residents, fire chiefs observed, “Many encounter surprise from new residents that the fire company isn’t a municipal service.  Some persons have never even heard of a volunteer fire company, particularly those from metropolitan areas.”  I am guessing that our local fire companies still encounter the same kind of remarks in 2010!

There is discussion in the article as to “What can residents do to back the volunteer fire companies”?  The response was “Join!”.  In 1971, the yearly dues were $1 for the Valley Forge company, $2 in East and West Whiteland, $5 per family in Berwyn and $12 per family in Paoli (which included family and ambulance service).

This post should be more than simply a walk down memory lane.  It needs to be a wake-up call to the supervisors and residents.  Although I have posted that Paul Olson called and told me that his solicitation committee (which included him, Lamina and Kampf) have made good on the cardboard check they presented to the Berwyn Fire Company in December, . . . there has been no official statement from the Board of Supervisors on the subject.  If you recall, the cardboard check of $23,200 represented the amount the supervisors removed from the fire companies in the 2010 budget.  Guess my question is where do we stand on the 2011 budget process . . . will the fire companies see their total budget reinstated?  And if the township reinstate the contribution to the fire companies in the 2011 budget, what will the supervisors cut from the budget to make that happen? 

We are in to the 2nd quarter of the year; has the Finance Committee begun working on the 2011 draft budget?  I’m thinking that there are associated winter costs (snow removal, stormwater problems, repair of potholes, etc.) that could be considerably higher than was forecasted for in the 2010 budget.  The 2011 budget process needs to be underway or there is going to be major problems come November.  With the loss of Dave Brill as the township finance director, I am assuming that the supervisors need to take a very active role in the economic forecasting.

Here is a link to the 1971 newspaper article, if you would like to read it in its entirety.  Funding of our fire companies is an important issue and a topic that needs to remain at the top of our priority list.  Comments from the readers . . . ?

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  1. Pattye, thanks for this post. You are so right, 40 yrs. and nothing changes. How sad is it that our local government looks to the fire companies to balance the budget. It is embarrasing that we live in a place where our elected officials don’t have more respect for these young men & women who are risking their lives for tis community. Because of Kampf, I bet the BOS slow rolls the budget discussion until after the election. Certainly can’t afford to have any tax increases discussed while Warren is in his campaign cycle. Bet I’m right, will hear nothing about the 2011 budget until after the Nov. election.

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  2. Everyone on this board knows that ours are volunteer fire companies and that they face funding challenges.

    Have you sent them a contribution in 2010?

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    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    John:

    My point is simple. It is the community’s responsibility to support the fire companies. Talk is cheap – write them a check.

    Mike

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    Janet Reply:

    Here’s a good question:
    You have funding of $100 one year, then the next year the funding is $150, then the 3rd year the funding is $142.50.
    Would any reasonable person claim that the funding was significantly cut?

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  3. It is the municipality’s responsibility, under law, to provide for these services. Donations to your local volunteers are great, but let’s not forget where the ultimate responsibility falls.

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    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    John:

    The government is a PART of the community, it is not THE community. My interest is in the fire companies getting the funding they need, not sitting around complaining that the government did or did not fully fund their request. The fire cos. did not get the funding they requested for 2010 from the Township, but that reduction was made up by additional private contributions that have been received, as confirmed by Pattye. If even half of the Township’s households contributed to the fire companies, this would be a non-issue.

    I’ll leave the political calculus to you.

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  4. Just for my own curiosity why does Mike in Berwyn think the local fire companies should be funded primarily by privately solicited funds?

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    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    Howard:

    That’s not what I said. I don’t know the exact number, but I’ve heard that they get contributions from less than 25% of the households. I’m suggesting folks, including those that profess their love for the fire companies on this board and at public meetings, give $10 or $25 or $50 or more.

    BTW, if I’m a firefighter, I would see private checks as tangible symbols of support and appreciation for my service to our community.

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    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    John:

    You say, “It is clear you subscribe to the notion that the Government has no responsibility to fund the fire companies.” Wrong again, John. It’s just that I do not subscribe to the notion that the Government has COMPLETE responsibility to fund the fire companies.

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    Bill L. Reply:

    ” Wrong again, John. It’s just that I do not subscribe to the notion that the Government has COMPLETE responsibility to fund the fire companies.”

    Mike in Berwyn –

    Wrong

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  5. I grew up in a S. Jersey town similar in some ways to Tredyffrin; about 12,000 homes, 34,000 population, but in a higher density, smaller area (about 8 sq. mi. vs. our 20). In 1992 we had 3 fire stations and a large volunteer fire and rescue squad. A recent referendum had put 2 full time paid firefighter/EMTs on the township payroll because there was no guaranteed coverage during business hours. I just checked the town’s FD website and they now have 16 FT paid fire/rescue personnel! This in a town with a 32% lower median household income, and for those of you familiar with New Jersey property taxes, a far higher millage rate. See: http://www.willingborofire.org/content/firefighters

    I’m not sure FT paids are the answer for our community, but is Tredyffrin WAY behind the curve here in terms of public safety? What are other PA towns with a similar profile doing? We wouldn’t stand for an all-volunteer police force that relied heavily on private contributions. I know FT personnel would come at the expense of some other service or amenity. Interested in hearing others’ input!

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  6. I’m sure Mike in Berwyn means well but if private funding should support the
    Fire Companies the same could be said for Police, roads, parks etc.
    It’s always easy to tell someone to “write a check”. Mike should consider reading
    the BFC funding request letter. The information contained should change his
    perception.
    Fire and EMS should be funded adequately by a dedicated fire tax. Then all of
    us will write a check to cover this expense.

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    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    Bill, John, etc.:

    Completely different situation than the police, roads, etc. and you know it. Are the police volunteers? How about public works? Volunteer fire companies are a very successful community partnership that combine the dedicated service of community volunteers and funding from state, local and private sources. Your and others’ efforts to politicize it only undermine what currently works very well. The collective you have created a huge amount of ill will over a $20,000 funding reduction, that has been restored by private fundraising, in order to score political points.

    You deride me, saying, “It’s always easy to tell someone to “write a check”. That’s exactly what your new fire tax is, you’re TELLING them to write a check, not ASKING them.

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    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    I did not debate your hero, JD. I shook my head while sitting in the audience, he lost his temper and used his microphone to say something asinine and I did not respond.

    And, of course, you John would NEVER try to politicize any issue, especially as it relates to Warren Kampf.

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    Bill L. Reply:

    Mike,
    So are you saying that since those men and women are volunteers they are less of a priority for the township funding? Roger is correct. The MUNICIPALITY actually has a legal obligation to ensure EMS and fire protection of the township. The same statement CANNOT be made regarding the Police Dept. That responsibility lies with the state. Yet, the elected officials and community members have made a conscious decision to forgo the state supplied law enforcement in favor of our own. Why? Reduced police response times, greater familiarity of the officers with the community, and a number of other reasons (i.e. the Jones’ next door have their own police force). I don’t disagree with the choice to have our own police force at all, but please don’t confuse where the responsibilities of individual vs. municipality lie.

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    Township Reader Reply:

    As to the private fund raising you speak of, again, you don’t know what you are talking about. In time, the rest of that story will be told. <<<

    JP — can you please stop referring to some hypothetical secret information every time you want to win the day? Carson and Kampf….fundraising "the rest of that story will be told" …. unless you are afraid of a SLAPP suit since you don't report anonymously, I wish you would operate in the same sunshine you want the boards to operate in. Post anonymously i fyou must — but please stop the 3rd party references…or whatever they are. I'd like to know the story — not wait for it — and I'd like to consider facts, not innuendo. Thanks.

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  7. Could there be some way to fund the fire companies using money generated from the development of the Paoli Transit Center – parking fees, business licenses?

    Will redevelopment of Paoli’s Town Center and Transit Districts create a need for additional fire services? Present additional risks or hazards? Additional training? Apparatus?

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  8. Some people just don’t get it even if the facts are staring them in the face.

    If the fire companies are saying the same things in’71 that they are now – there is a problem. If the Board really understood it we would not be talking about this.

    2 options based on what I have know:

    1) Fire Tax
    2) Re-allocation of current tax dollars

    Are we willing as a community to move money from parks or libraries?

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  9. I would like to hear what Joey-bag-o-donuts has to say about this.

    I remember he/she having some useful comments from previous discussions.

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  10. Mike,
    Apparently you also do not understand that the fire companies are NOT all volunteer. Each Tredyffrin company has dedicated paid personnel as well. Your attempt to distinguish the services from those of the police, road crews, etc. is weak at best. I’m not sure how many times I can repeat – this protection is required by law. And to your point about “if you were a firefighter you would appreciate the checks.” That is true, to an extent. It’s nice for all residents to support the companies but do you think the volunteers really care where the money comes from? No. Maybe you should consider giving time and money? I believe they are all accepting applications for volunteers.

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  11. I’m not sure what the right solution is — but I know that making EVERYTHING be about Warren Kampf diminishes the quality of the exchange. JP wants every bad road to lead to defeating WK — it’s simply not a clear connection for me. I need to know about his opponent too — I obviously watched the politicizing of the fire department funding — but if it was this way 40 years ago, then is this the first year it was broken??? Volunteer fire companies may be anachronistic — or not? Would funding them with a tax provide any incremental benefits to residents? While I see that there must be some background to your debates with Mike in Berwyn, I also see that his suggestion that we all contribute is certainly not counter to the goal of a funded department — so why bash him for it? I personally have volunteered to help the fire companies raise money, and they haven’t even responded to my letters. Maybe there is an inherent victimization to this process — that tthe FD wants to be a squeaky wheel? I’m asking — not concluding.
    I know that Bill DeH was a supervisor for two terms at least — maybe he can bring me up to speed on his efforts during his terms to implement a fire tax — or to secure a more dependable funding for this cause.
    I know from reading here that when people don’t agree with each other, there is an unfortunate outcome that people get petty and personal — and claim the other side is clueless. Maybe we need to exchange opinions without presuming our own perspective is the only correct one. The goal is a solution — Mike wants to shorten the debate and ask residents to send a check. Is implementing a tax actually going to solve the problem more quickly? Why not publicize the costs of the program and make a case for why each of us should donate that.

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    Janet Reply:

    “The financial status of the FD’s is public. Once a month, they provide a financial report. If you want to see how things work, visit them.”

    Where can someone get a copy of these reports? Do they report every single expenditure they have?

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    Janet Reply:

    So, if I call the fire dept’s, they will send me a copy of their daily operating budgets?

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    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    Thank you for your level-headed perspective, Township Reader.

    First of all, my only interest is in finding solutions to the fire department funding challenge. I’m not running for office, not gonna run for office, and am only casually acquainted with a couple in office. Simply, I want what’s best for this community, reflective of values of the people who live here.

    In 2009, the Township made many difficult financial, painful decisions – among them was a reduction in the 2010 funding requested by the local fire companies. There was a campaign to raise private funds to make up the roughly $20,000 reduction and it certainly appears that, at the end of the day, the fire companies were “made whole” for the $280,000 requested. Pattye has set the tone for this discussion and takes the “high road”, as usual, by trying to focus on solutions, not pointing fingers or revisiting 2009, for political advantage. As we look toward 2011 and beyond, the effort should be toward providing adequate funding to support this vital public safety function, in a way that is respectful of the fire companies and the citizens.

    I KNOW that the ultimate responsibility from a legal standpoint lies with the government. However, in practice, there has been a COMMUNITY partnership between citizen volunteers, a small paid staff, state and local government funding, and private contributions. This partnership has provided a fiscally attractive solution and my sense is the fire volunteers enjoy the camaraderie of their fire companies and are proud of their excellent service to our community, as they should be. In turn, the community appreciates their efforts, although we could better show our appreciation if more people give and those who give, give more;). Very importantly, I have never heard that the current arrangement compromises the public safety in any way.

    An alternative could be a full-time, dedicated fire company, a la Willingboro(cited in a post above), paid for by a fire tax. Or, it could be paid for by raising real estate taxes and/or reducing expenses further at the Township. In my opinion, implementation of a fire tax, even to support the current arrangement, would be the first step toward elimination of the volunteer fire companies – to me, that would be a serious step backward for this community.

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    Not so fast Reply:

    Mike in Berwyn,

    In your post from a year ago you stated: “I’m not running for office, not gonna run for office, and am only casually acquainted with a couple in office.”

    ~ Seven months later you are interviewing for an interim appointment to TTBOS. Two months after your successful bid for the appointment you are now campaigning to be elected to the same seat in the TTBOS election for a longer term…

    That is a pretty big contradiction to your steadfast comments a year ago, isn’t it ?

    Are there any other comments, pronouncements or positions that you have taken on this blog that we should dismiss as unreliable, inaccurate, or careless?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Not so Fast…..

    Yet another reason people should either avoid blogs or disguise themselves when they post? Things change, positions change, and anything someone posts under a blog nickname is hardly a “pronouncement or position”. Ask the CANDIDATE……whether or not he is truly Mike in Berwyn (did he ever use a real name?) is moot. So to suggest that his comments are unreliable, inaccurate and careless is patently unfair.

    I will carry water here. If this blog is going to be helpful and an asset, fulfill Pattye’s goals, we have to let people talk. How do we know Molly Duffy isn’t Citizen One? We don’t. And if she was, unless she made a statement using her name, in her capacity as a candidate, it would be public noise, not information.

    IF he is the same person, maybe someone approached Mike in Berwyn and convinced him to step up and serve the community? Maybe his passion for the community, which resulted in his posting to this blog, drew him to respond to the call. Maybe we should say thanks and ask the candidate what his position is. Otherwise, putting people on record is dangerous. And I for one will stop using any semblance of a real identity.

    Being elected and serving in this community is HARD….and pretty much thankless. It’s not blind ambition that prompts every election bid. How easy to sit in the peanut gallery, call yourself “Not so Fast” and then challenge assertions about political futures that could very well have been quite real….but changed with changing circumstances. One should not have to be clever enough to use different ISPs to post here to hide identities. Using your name isn’t brave after all. It’s careless?

    Let’s play fair.

    Jack Albion Reply:

    Wow. “Not so fast” is an appropriate name for you. More appropriate might be “Frozen in Ice” or “Slooooooow.”

    If you’re trolling for the minority party, might want to consider addressing Dariel Jameson’s failure to identify herself as Chair of TTDEMS in a recent local letter to the editor. It’s a disgrace and she should know better.

  12. I have one question for all of you and it is..
    There is a SEWER tax in the township – separate from the Township taxes .
    Are we saying that we are willing to pay a tax for POOP and not for Fire protection?

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  13. Township Reader:

    “Why not publicize the costs of the program and make a case for why each of us should donate that.”

    This has been done over and over again.

    “I personally have volunteered to help the fire companies raise money, and they haven’t even responded to my letters.”

    Ok. Why don’t you approach the fire guys at the next township meeting and offer your help to them face to face?

    Janet:

    “Where can someone get a copy of these reports? Do they report every single expenditure they have?”

    Why don’t you contact the Treasurer at whatever firehouse you want to learn about?

    Forget Kampf, this issue is bigger then him and the damage to his political career will play itself out when the time is right.

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  14. At the risk of starting World War III, it is a Sewer Revenue FEE, not a tax. Only the USERS of the Township sewer system pay the fee.

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    Malvern Republican Reply:

    That may be true Mike, but you should also acknowledge that this “sewer fee” also pays for items that are utilized by many people beyond just those attached to the township sewer system. hmmm. Why aren’t those funded out of the general fund as one would expect?

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    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    That is true. My understanding is some monies from the sewer fund are used for other costs, particularly streetlights. The apparent rationale was/is that typically the streetlights are in areas where residents are connected to the sewer system, while in the more remote areas, they have neither sewers nor streetlights. I don’t really know enough about it to offer any firm judgment.

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    Malvern Republican Reply:

    My point was that it is not as simple as a sewer fee designed for the sewer users to pay for the sewers costs as you represented… It is utilized for other things that more logically belong as general fund expenditures, which as you know is mainly funded by RE taxes. Thus, the fact that it is being (mis)used as a substitute for taxation clearly make it a tax in my mind.

    papadick58 Reply:

    Call it as you will — My point was that I get an invoice from the Twp. – but I guess your point was that there may be some in the Twp. that are not attached to the sewer system so they do not pay. There are many in the TWP. that do not have kids in the schools – but they pay a school tax without any personal benefit.
    By the way, I do make a 100 donation to the fire company every year — even though I have not used their services..

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    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    There is neither a school nor a fire department user fee – tax collections from all real estate owners fund those functions.

    You get a separate invoice for the sewers which only goes to users of the sewer system. Easttown does the same thing, BTW.

    Tredyffrin’s sewer fee is $250/year. I understand that roughly 80% of the residents are on the sewer system, and thus pay the fee. So, the Township could eliminate the sewer fee, and raise everybody’s taxes, including those not on the system, by $200/year. While it would benefit me personally, cause I’m on the system, I think that would be unfair.

    [Reply]

    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    Malvern Republican:

    in the 2010 sewer budget, of $5.083million in expenses, $328,500 is for street light electricity, repairs, and maintenance.

    Malvern Republican Reply:

    Mike:

    Q: If the street light amount is so insignificant why didn’t all of the supervisors agree to put it where it belonged?

    Mike in Berwyn Reply:

    There is a difference between a user fee and a tax. If I pay $5000 in real estate taxes annually and am not connected to the Township sewer system, I pay $5000 – if I’m connected, I pay an additional $250, totaling $5250. And yes there is a difference between $2.7million and $3million – in fact, enough to more than fulfill the entire 2010 fire funding request.

    “There are none so blind as those that refuse to see”.

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  15. So if we had volunteer police officers working the streets of Tredyffrin, would we make those people have to volunteer their time to cook pancakes to raise money to put bullets in their guns and gas in their police cars? But we would give township funding to the police officers who are paid to be there so they had bullets and gas?

    The fire apparatus and ambulances from Paoli, Berwyn & Radnor fire companies leave their stations with paid and volunteer staffing. Sometimes all paid, sometimes all volunteer and sometimes combination.

    The angle being talked about here is all wrong. It has nothing to do with who is on the trucks. It has to do with what they do when they get there.

    When you call 911, you expect that they get there quickly and know what they are doing when they get there with the right tools to do it. When your house is on fire, your loved one is having a heart attack, your car hits a tree and you are stuck inside, you fall and injure yourself, etc you don’t care at that moment where the funding comes from. You just expect the best.

    It is up to the municipality to ensure you have the coverage. It’s the law as stated above. Unfortunately, the law does not specify how much money buys you that. But because we expect the best, we should provide the best.

    The missing discussion so far as I see it, is where have we come since 1970. What does the value of the money given to the fire companies in 1971 (which was stated by the fire companies as insufficient at the time) represent in 2010? How does $15750 in 1970 to Berwyn Fire Company compare to today? How much did it cost to run the fire company back then?

    Berwyn Fire Co’s fund drive letter stated that Tredyffrin & Easttown Township funding combined = 20% of their annual budget. So the two municipalities combined are not even making a dent.

    The question should be what percentage of their budget should be contributed? 20%? 50%? 100%? At least the fire company will know how much it is going to get. The remainder, as described by Berwyn’s fund drive letter, is service billing and donations. How secure is that number? If people decide not to donate, the fire company is short. Why rely on mystery when there can be certainty?

    I for one believe we pay plenty enough taxes in Tredyffrin, plenty to fund these fire companies what they need. The priorities need to swing. Then we can let the parks & rec board raise the money they need. Let the libraries raise the money they need. Houses don’t burn down if they fall short on funding. (PS: I like parks and libraries too, so don’t call me a hater). The issue I see with fund raising is that my donation covers my neighbor’s lack of donation. Because we are all already taxed, we then share the same responsibility.

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  16. Malvern Republican:

    I am not well-versed in the history of including street light expenses in the sewer budget, but I seem to recall it started about 10 years ago. Maybe someone else on this blog can provide more background?

    [Reply]

  17. The sewer fee is not deductible as a property tax, right? I see it is a distinction without much of a difference, and certainly agree that it’s another source of revenue — the increase camoflauging the amount of tax increase….and allowing WK to claim no tax increase. He actually voted against the sewer increase after being sure it would pass by having Judy vote before him…right?

    But regardless — why bicker about this? I have “talked to the fire guys” and I do think that their fundraising is part and parcel of their identity — I do think the nature of the volunteer force lends itself to asking for community support from donations since they are donating their time.

    Fire departments and EMT services are capable of generating revenue as well. Montgomery County had quite a scandal when the treasurer of same was prosecuted for embezzlement — and it badly hurt their donations…. but a business person who took over running the ambulance portion turned a major profit for the system and because people were not begging for money, no one complained. Volunteer departments are clearly the choice of many communities — and I have known many, many high school kids who have participated in the local programs. Again, people donate time and money for these services. If we decide to change that model and offer stable funding coming from tax dollars, the volunteer guys would have no place — and I agree with Mike it could be a step in the wrong direction.

    CJ — you are right — we could choose to fund libraries and parks differently. Both of those also have sources of revenue — they could make it more expensive to use their facilities and materials — which is why we elect people to do these jobs of supervisor. John P. may be filled with vitriol about WK, but he is right that we all need to pay attention to these issues and try to make a difference. Deciding whether or not WK will get my vote really has nothing to do with the debate over how to fund municipal services….but asking questions during elections — instead of letting candidates tell you they will keep taxes low and be fiscally responsible — without asking how they plan to do it — is where we all err.
    Thanks Pattye. This is a very useful exchange!

    [Reply]

    Bill L. Reply:

    Township Reader–

    Are you kidding me? Seriously? Fundraising is part of their identities? without it they’d have nothing to do? What a load of crock! I mean really! The “fire guys” and girls I know ( I do have a nephew “fire guy” as well) didn’t join the their firehouses to beg for money. They joined to help save lives and property. They joined to make a difference in their communities but they didn’t join to fill your community role of beggars. That has been one of the most insulting posts to those guys and girls I have seen. Part of their identies? Really? Wow.

    And now, as state requirement for training, etc get tougher and tougher you want them to continue to take more time away from their families because you think they want to?

    Wow….

    [Reply]

    Township Reader Reply:

    Chill…wow…that’s hardly the implication of my post. They are a close fraternity — and didn’t seem very enthusiastic about someone offering to help. That’s all I said. I don’t for a minute believe many or any of them like to fundraise….but if they were totally funded by taxes, they would lose some of their autonomy, and I think that is integral to their mission. Not criticizing them Bill L. Read on….fight with those who oppose you, not those who question.

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  18. I am thinking that the Fire Dept. should be funded by Fire Insurance Companies much like it was back in the early days. Makes sense to me as the insurance companies have a vested interest in reducing their loses. If we stay with a volunteer department another proposal is to sell shares in the department and if one buys in then they get protection. Seems a little silly for all residents to get protection when tax dollars are not the majority of support to the company. I have no gripe with the volunteer aspects of the department and do agree that it provides a haven for folks that enjoy big trucks.
    On the sewer fee – can I opt to not pay or participate?

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  19. If anyone thinks that the volunteer firefighters or EMTs consider fundraising as part of their identity, they are seem somewhat misguided. This may be ok for companies which respond on few emergency calls, but how realistic is it for companies which go on thousands of emergencies PER YEAR to also engage in fundraising.

    Providing a sustainable funding stream wouldn’t dissuade volunteerism, it would increase volunteerism – don’t you think more people who feel they would enjoy emergency service work would come out, knowing they have the backing of the municipality and won’t have to balance emergency responses, training, and cooking pancakes on Saturdays?

    It is a ridiculous assertion to make that these companies enjoy fundraising and that without fundraising, the volunteerism would die. Back up that assertion with facts. I would argue the converse – the more volunteers have to move away from their primary mission, the more likely they are to simply throw in the towel.

    And to the point about insurance companies – they do get funds from insurance companies. See the PA Fireman’s Relief Association.

    [Reply]

  20. Just re-read my post and see why it drew ire…I don’t mean the verb fundraising…I mean the fact that donations are part of their funding. They can expect (not beg) for donations because they donate their time.

    Without donations, the character of the enterprise would have to change — and the volunteerism would likely have to dwindle for insurance reasons. Do we have volunteer police?

    Perhaps my early question about whether volunteer emts and fire are no longer relevant IS the issue. Should we have a professional and fully staffed and paid department? If yes — then what model exists for us to observe? Serious question — not a hypothetical. And not a shot at the status quo. I’m trying to learn here — not bicker.

    [Reply]

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