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Request for donation to Rescue Squad approved for consideration
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Warren County Rescue Squad director Chad Hillis is attempting to restore a local government contribution for the upcoming fiscal year.

“This is basically what we asked for last year, not what we got,” said Hillis to members of the county Safety Committee. “We’re requesting $29,350.”

Commissioners provided $20,000 to the Rescue Squad in 2017 – more than $9,000 less than requested.

The reduction was part of a cost-saving measure in order to double the allocation to seven volunteer fire departments from $21,000 to $42,000.
Part of the donation, said Hillis, would go toward payments on a new vehicle.

“We had to replace one. The maintenance fees on a 1994 model pickup were dollaring us to death. It was an old game warden truck before we received it.”

Whispering between commissioners Randy England and Carl D. Bouldin ended with England asking, “Chad, how many calls do you go out on in a year?”

“In county, probably about 20,” said Hillis. “We made several trips out of town last year backing up fellow squads and region callouts. Those get expensive.”

The number of response calls by the Rescue Squad in comparison to the county’s seven volunteer fire department was one of the arguments Harrison Ferry Volunteer Fire Department chief Lynn Curtis used to urge the county to increase funding to the fire departments.

“Warren County donates over $25,000 to the Rescue Squad every year and they respond to less than one-fourth the calls the volunteer fire departments respond to,” said Curtis. “By no means am I undermining, or not supportive of, the Rescue Squad. I am simply stating it isn’t fair to your fire departments.”

Several other contributions were also reduced in order to make up the additional $21,000 donation to volunteer fire departments.

Among others cut were Heritage Alliance, CHEER Mental Health, American Red Cross, Chamber of Commerce, Books from Birth, and Young Men United.

Committee members unanimously approved the donation, as requested.

The measure will be sent to the county Budget and Finance Committee for consideration.