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Fire Dept. Concerned With 2012 Budget

Borough budget issues affecting Royersford Fire Department

About 20 members of the Royersford Fire Department attended Tuesday's Royersford borough council meeting in support of their company. Fire Chief Gary Wezel presented a letter to the council detailing changes to the fire department's policies on non-essential and non-emergency services.

"Support for the fire department is drastically decreasing," Wezel said. "Only 13-percent of the residents and 10-percent of the business financially support the fire department."

Wezel also pointed out that fundraisers such as chicken barbecue dinners and Basket Bingo are barely breaking even.

Equipment costs and other operating expenses continue to rise, while donations and grants used to fund the department are either decreasing or disappearing altogether, Wezel said.

As a result, Wezel said, the fire department has decided to begin requesting donations for non-essential, non-emergency services that they provide to the borough and to other organizations in the area.

These services include using department apparatuses to hang banners, pump water from basements, and provide lights and fire police personnel.

The donation will be $100 per hour, per apparatus, with a one-hour minimum, and $10 per person, per hour for the fire police.

Wezel was careful to point out that this policy will not affect emergency services.

The full letter is available as a PDF .

Council president Thomas Weikel said that once the members of council have time to read the letter, he "hopes that discussions can continue."

Royersford Fire Department has already gone through a consolidation in the last year, merging the and Fire Companies into one larger company, in order to help with their costs.

According to the department's letter, the 2012 budget continues to underfund the fire department, necessitating the new policy.

Royersford's borough council passed the 2012 budget at Tuesday's meeting.

Council also approved an ordinance setting the tax rate for 2012. Next year's rate will be 6.7 mills, which is the same tax rate as last year.

The council's next meeting will be Dec. 27.

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