Warren County Rescue Squad’s funding request has been cut by $9,200 in an effort to provide additional funding for county volunteer fire departments, while Heritage Alliance’s request has been cut by $500 to increase the fair’s donation.
Those decisions were made Thursday by the county Budget and Finance Committee as part of the review process to establish the county’s budget for fiscal year 2017-18.
Rescue Squad’s proposed budget of $29,200 included a purchase of new equipment for $9,200. The department’s budget request was approved by the Budget and Finance Committee, but came back under review after a decision was made to double the allocation to seven volunteer fire departments from $3,000 to $6,000.
Commissioner Terry Bell asked Rescue Squad member Donald Hillis what the department would be purchasing with the $9,200.
“I don’t know what that is,” said Hillis, who attended the meeting for other reasons not related to the Rescue Squad and not in place of Rescue Squad director Chad Hillis.
Hillis did say the Rescue Squad appreciates the county’s annual support and it does attempt to obtain grants for many of the things it needs so as not to place an undue burden on the county.
“If you are purchasing new equipment when our fire departments are struggling, I don’t think I can support that,” said Bell. “That’s my opinion. I don’t know how the committee feels about it.”
Committee members unanimously agreed and removed the $9,200 to bring the donation for the Rescue Squad down to $20,000.
Heritage Alliance’s proposed donation of $1,000 was cut in half with the removed money going the fair.
Warren County A&L Fair’s proposed budget was reduced from $7,500 to $5,000 in an effort to increase the funds given to volunteer fire departments. When Procedures and Rules Committee members met on May 31 to review the proposed donation, they increased the fair’s donation to $7,000 by removing the $2,000 donation to Citizens for Progress Scholarship Program in its entirety. However, the change left the fair $500 less than what was given last year.
Budget and Finance Committee unanimously approved moving $500 from Heritage Alliance and bringing the fair back up to $7,500.
In attendance at the meeting was Todd Herzog who pled with Budget and Finance Committee members to reinstate the donation to Citizens for Progress, a scholarship fund for higher education and used by high school students who are also enrolled at Motlow State Community College or Tennessee College of Applied Technology.
“We need those funds,” said Herzog. “Please don’t cut us out.”
Members agreed to revisit Citizens for Progress donation at a later date.
All other nonprofit donations, as recommended by Procedures and Rules, were left unchanged.