Posted: Mar 28, 2013 5:43 PM by Andrew Ellison - firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: Mar 28, 2013 6:46 PM
FLOUR BLUFF - Come next week, small, volunteer fire departments like Flour Bluff could see a boost in funding from the state.
It could happen next week, when the members of the Texas House vote on the 2014-2015 budget next thursday.
That state has a program called Volunteer Firefighter Assistance.
The program helps small departments like Flour Bluff get funding for essentials like equipment and firefighter training through a competitive grant process.
For instance, the state pays Flour Bluff $15,000 a year for firefighter training.
"For small departments on a very tight budget, the grant program is just huge," Chief Dale Scott says.
But over the last three years, the state has slashed funding for the program by 75% from $30 million to $7 million.
"There's a lot of competition for the grants, and now there's less money available to be divided up among the departments, so the competition goes way up," Scott says.
At the height of the program, the department was able to buy things like a $10,500 brush unit for grass fires.
Now, the legislature is considering adding more funding to the program for next year's budget, and while it's unlikely, fire departments across the state hope it's restored to the full $30 million.
Rep. David Simpson is pushing the amendment to increase funding to the program.
It will all be decided next Thursday.
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