ABILENE, Texas - ECCA Volunteer Fire Department Chief Gary Young presented a budget proposal to Taylor County commissioners Wednesday afternoon, but he also brought up an issue facing many volunteer departments in the area.
For the 2017 fiscal year, the department is asking for roughly $258,000 to be split between 13 volunteer fire departments around the Big Country. The proposal is about a five-percent increase from last year's and is due mainly to the cost of inflation.
However, beyond basic funding, Young said all of the departments need something even more important.
"Manpower, we're short on man power," Young said. "That's the worst thing that you can suffer. We've faced it before. I'm sorry to say, but it takes a big [fire] to get the interest back up."
According to Young, the fire season is already underway and they've already seen multiple grass fires this week, which has them worried about what's to come.
"What we've got to do is get the message out to the people that we are entering fire season," Young said. "We're entering it with a lot of fuel. We've had a lot of rain, which is such a blessing, but now we have a bunch of fuel in place for it."
If you want to volunteer at a VFD near you, you can contact a local fire department or sheriff's office. As for the budget proposal, it will be finalized by September 1.
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