Acts 7, 8, 9, & 31 of 2008

Fire and EMS Funding

-Municipal Control-


We'd talked about this legislation for a while, but it has been passed, was signed by the Governor, and is law.  There were three separate Acts, one applies to second-class Townships, one to first-class Townships, and one to Boroughs.  The City version was passed (Act 31) later.  This is the meat:


(a) - The municipality shall be responsible for ensuring that fire and emergency medical services are provided within the municipality by the means and to the extent determined by the municipality, including the appropriate financial and administrative assistance for these services.

(b) - The municipality shall consult with fire and emergency medical services providers to discuss the emergency services needs of the municipality.

(c) - The municipality shall require any emergency services organizations receiving municipal funds to provide to the municipality an annual itemized listing of all expenditures of these funds before the municipality may consider budgeting additional funding to the organization.


Why is this important?  The #1 reason FF's leave FDs is because they're forced to staff fund-raising.  People don't join the local FD to roast chicken, make sandwiches or call Bingo games!  They don't join to sell raffle tickets or otherwise beg for money.  A recent study showed the minimum cost of a FD switching to full-time paid is $1.8 million dollars annually!  Yet we still have municipalities who make a big deal out of a $500 annual FD donation.  Municipalities are about to get sticker shock if all the volunteers walk out...  ALSO, FD's need to create realistic multi-year budgets with appropriate Capital Outlays - spending an extra $2000 on hubcaps may sound silly against the total purchase price, but how does it help your performance at fighting fires?  That $2,000 could have bought a lot of cones and Fire Police signs...


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