Volunteer firefighters in Taylor County discuss budget needs


ABILENE, Texas - Volunteer firefighters from across Taylor County packed the commissioners court meeting Wednesday as discussion focused on funding in the upcoming fiscal year.

Representatives of volunteer fire departments in Taylor County talked of having to use equipment dating back to the 1980s and of concern with being able to adequately communicate.

The proposed 2014-2015 budget for volunteer firefighters totals $227,504 – or about $905 more than the current fiscal year.

The major need for volunteer firefighters in Taylor County is a new portable communications repeater to help them communicate over mountainous terrain.

The new device is a mobile communications repeater – and Gary Young, chairman of the Taylor County rural fire committee, believes it will be very useful.

"It can be deployed rapidly in the rugged terrain that we have here in Taylor County that makes it virtually impossible for us to talk over huge mountain obstacles except with our portable radios," Young said. "This will certainly do a tremendous job on closing that gap that's open."

The budget also listed numerous items that the various local volunteer fire departments requested, all of which they believe are necessary.

"Every year you have to move forward or else you're going to be stuck behind," said Dana Sowell, chief of the Buffalo Gap fire department. "You aren't going to be the fire department you want to be."

This new budget is moving forward and Young ensures every dollar will be spent.

"We're going to be just as conservative and just as tight with our money as we have always been," Young said. "We've never had any money to waste and we don't plan on wasting any money."