Staff opposes paying fire departments

Published 1:24 pm Wednesday, September 16, 2015

By Diana McFarland

News editor

Isle of Wight County staff has recommended that the Board of Supervisors deny two fire departments their funding from last year.

The supervisors last year decided not to fund either Carrollton or Windsor Volunteer Fire Departments because the departments would not sign a facilities use agreement for their buildings. The supervisors did agree to pay monthly bills submitted by the departments, but that arrangement proved cumbersome and essentially unworkable, according to the volunteers.

In early summer, the departments filed a petition with the county to have the withheld funds restored. The Board of Supervisors put off the decision, but must act this month or face going to court to face a challenge filed by the departments. The Board of Supervisors is expected to take action on the staff recommendation to deny the petition Thursday. {mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

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        For fiscal 2014, Carrollton was budgeted for $254,536 and Windsor was to receive $122,918.

Without funding from the county, both agencies have been operating on reserves collected from donations and fundraising efforts. 

Last month, the attorney representing the two departments said they were close to hammering out an agreement on the long contested facilities use agreement. The FUA, as it is called, outlines the use and maintenance of the seven county-owned fire and rescue facilities. So far, the other five agencies have signed the original agreement.

Windsor and Carrollton offered an alternative agreement, and despite the other agencies agreeing to sign it, the Board demurred.

Carrollton didn’t sign the agreement because it took issue with portions of the FUA, and Windsor declined because it already had a memorandum of understanding between the agency, the town of Windsor and Isle of Wight County. The MOU, signed in 2008, addresses what will happen when and if in the future the Windsor Fire Department and Windsor Volunteer Rescue Squad are located on the same property.

Carrollton Volunteer Fire Department President Fred Mitchell declined to comment Tuesday, and instead wanted to see what happens Thursday night.

Windsor Captain Dale Scott also declined to comment. {/mprestriction}