Stella Fire Department Faces Money Woes
The Stella Rural Fire Department is facing money troubles after voters did not approve a tax district for the department.
Fire Chief Charlie Colvin said, “We have had a lot more calls this year than ever.”
He said the department did not receive two grants it applied for. One grant was to replace bunker gear, all of which is out of date, Colvin said. The gear costs $3,000 per person at the cheapest, he said. Another grant the department applied for and did not receive was a radio grant to replace its digital radios to be compatible with neighboring departments.
Regarding the radios, he said, “Our radios cover 113 square miles. Some areas they will not cover. It’s a life safety issue if we can’t talk to each other if we go into a structure fire.”
“Our biggest disappointment was the tax district not passing,” Colvin said, “because that would have given us enough funds to budget for bunker gear and to replace trucks that are 40 to 50 years out of date.”
He added, “If we have a truck go down, usually it’s one of us working on it because we can’t afford to take it to a mechanic.”
The department has five engines and only one passed an annual inspection. Since then, two have been fixed, making three total that are fully functional. Colvin said the department cannot afford to fix the other two right now.
He said the department will try for more grants and will try for the tax district again, in time.
“It cost almost $3,000 just to get it on the ballot, so we just threw that money away,” he said.
“If everyone paid their dues, it would be more than the tax district,” Colvin said. “The ones that have not paid dues, we will be charging them for our services. So I highly encourage everyone to pay their $50 for their membership, because we can charge $100 per hour per apparatus.”
The year was not all bad, however. The department got a new fire truck — a 1994 E-1 Hurricane to replace a 1964 Ford Pierce.
“We got it at an extremely good price even though we had to go to Pennsylvania to get it,” Colvin said.
The department is sponsoring Forbidden Fears Haunted Attraction from 7:30 p.m. to midnight Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 26-27 at 21841 E. Highway 76, Rocky Comfort. Tickets are $10. There are discounts for groups of 10 or more and for military, police, fire and ambulance personnel. All proceeds benefit the Stella Rural Fire Department.
Members of the Stella Rural Fire Department include Jacob Brashers (left), Chief Charlie Colvin, Jerald Carlin, Andy Williams, Rocky Bronson, Dustin Breckenridge, Eban Cormier, Craig Doty, Shawn Doty, Brenna Jones, William Zellers, Logan Furnish, Kurt Williams, Leon Horton, Nathan Sanders and Dexter Conner.