Fire Department Concern After Sussex County Budget Approved
June 18th, 9:23 PM EDT
GEORGETOWN, Del - The Sussex County Council approved its budget for the 2019 fiscal year on Tuesday, a total of $177,524,402 in expenses. Based on the policy of the Sussex County Volunteer Firefighters Association, the 21 fire departments within its borders will receive an equal share and Milford a 50 percent share of $2,057,000. It has a dollar amount that is not satisfactory for Lewes Fire Department President Craig Stephens. "We feel they can do more for the volunteer service," Stephens told WRDE. "The appropriation is rather small compared to other agencies.
Funding for the three libraries the county owns is $3,229,781. There is additional funding for other libraries not included in that figure. Another concern, is the number of runs responded by Lewes compared to the in-land departments. In 2018, Lewes had a combined 5,040 for Fire and Emergency Medical. For comparison, Dagsboro had 627.
"Some fire companies do not want any change (to the equal distribution policy)," Sussex County Volunteer Firefighters Association President Hunter Holland said. "The east coat (departments) that are impacted by tourists want a change."
The opportunity to alter the policy could begin in July when seven representatives from the county's fire departments and two council members will meet to discuss how funds from future budgets will be distributed.