Pollitt: No New Money In County For Increase In Fire-Service Agr - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Pollitt: No New Money In County For Increase In Fire-Service Agreement

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WICOMICO CO., Md. - The debate continues over whether the Salisbury Fire Department should be getting more funding from Wicomico County.

The agreement between the City of Salisbury and Wicomico County expired in December 2010.

According to public information officer Tamara Lee-Brooks, the contract called for the "delivery of Fire, Rescue, Advanced Operations and Emergency Medical Services." The agreement was first adopted May 2005 and extended yearly until 2009. Lee-Brooks tells 47 ABC that during a meeting in March 2010, it was suggested that the current agreement be extended for another three years, but the group did not vote.

Leaders from the city and county met on Thursday to discuss and to negotiate a new deal. County executive Rick Pollitt says the county has traditionally split funding equally among the 14 fire departments in the area, including three in Salisbury.

Wicomico County provided 47 ABC with a breakdown of the funds from the operating budget:

  • Salisbury Ambulance Companies (3) receive $155,000 each
  • Salisbury Fire Department receives one allocation of $125,000 split between the three stations
  • Volunteer ambulance companies (11) receive $55,000 each
  • Each EMT (11) received $100,000 in grants
  • Volunteer Fire Companies (14) each received $100,000 operating grants
  • Additionally, all 14 companies received $27,000 from the Equipment Sinking Fund

Wicomico County says there are additional grants for items such as worker's compensation, death benefits and community outreach.

In all, three Salisbury fire and ambulance companies each get $323,666, while the remaining fire companies bring in $282,000 each from the county. When asked if all parts of the service agreement are being upheld, Pollitt said "yes."

"There is no new money in the county to substantially increase what we contribute to the City of Salisbury," said Pollitt. "I'm not willing to take away from the rural fire departments because that could mean the difference of them staying in business or not."

Pollitt says he has asked the City to bring their discussions to the Center of Conflict Resolution at Salisbury University.

"Maybe the old agreements don't work so well anymore in 2014," said Pollitt. "Maybe we can see how we can be more collaborative in how we provide fire and ambulance service around the county.

"Maybe we can do better at leveraging our combined assets so that people who's homes are on fire or have a medical emergency don't have to worry about who's bureaucratic turf is involved, but who's going to be able to get their fastest with the best equipment to deal with their issue."

No word yet if or when that will happen.

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