Lewes Fire Department seeking $400,000 in funding from city to protect department’s future
LEWES, Del. – The Lewes Fire Department is seeking some major funding from the city this year. $400,000 to be exact. And fire officials say that it’s critical that they get the funding that they need, or the future of the department could be in jeopardy.
“We are a business, and like any business if our expenses outweigh our revenue we won’t survive,” said financial viability committee chairman Gordon Davis.
Over the past 10 years, Lewes officials say they’ve seen the area grow dramatically. And while growth is a good sign, the Lewes Fire Department is just barely keeping up with the amount of EMS and fire calls they’re getting each year.
“Our community has changed and our demand for services has changed. We’re seeing about a 10% increase per year in our emergency responses,” explained Davis.
To help with expenses. the city donates approximately $30,000 to the department each year, while also paying the utilities for the main fire station. And as discussions for this years budget are underway, the fire department is asking the city for more funding to continue to provide basic emergency services. Nearly 10 times the amount they’re already being given.
“This is kind of late in our current budget process but we’re certainly going to look at ways that other local governments collect money to be able to better support the volunteer fire companies,” said Lewes city manager Ann Marie Townshed.
While the department knows the $400,000 they’re requesting won’t be given to them right away. They’re asking the city to at least consider giving them some type of increase in funding for next year’s budget.
“Short term were asking for an increase to that amount to whatever the city feels is appropriate,” said Davis.
Fire officials add that although they don’t expect these changes to happen overnight, they’re hoping city officials will take their request into careful consideration and ultimately make the best decision for the community. City officials say they’ll start drafting a budget for the 2020 fiscal year beginning April 1st. They add that towards the end of their budget meetings, they’ll prepare a final draft, and decide whether they’re going to give the fire department and increase this year.