AUGUSTA – And at the State House, lawmakers are considering a bill that could change the way some fire departments receive funding.
The official title of the bill is an “Act Regarding the Funding of Volunteer Fire Departments.”
At first glance you might think, this is a bill that would provide money for volunteer fire departments. But what it really does is give local control to the towns.
Right now, the towns are told by the state how they have pay for the operation of their volunteer fire departments.
Many fire department officials believe that’s just not right.
Representative Tim Theriault, R-China, said “The state has no skin in the game. There’s no money coming from the state. This is allowing, this is allowing home rule law. Towns are run by however, they want to run them. The state has stepped in and said, oh, you can run your town any way you want except for volunteer fire departments.”
Theriault expects this bill to get legislative approval. But, he said, he thought it would get approved in the last session and it failed to gain enough support.
We could know in a few weeks whether he has the support this time.