Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D-Forestburgh) announced funding in this year’s state budget will be allocated for a new volunteer fire department capital fund. Volunteer fire departments across New York State have struggled financially and in their recruitment of new members. This year’s State budget provides some relief for these fire departments to make sure that they have the resources they need to keep their communities safe.
“Unfortunately, the struggles of our local volunteer fire departments are not unique. Across the state, departments are having the same issues. Volunteer fire departments are struggling and desperately need help from the state for capital projects and recruitment,” said Gunther. “The funding in the state budget allocates $25 million to create a capital fund for volunteer fire departments. This fund will help volunteer fire departments acquire the equipment and build the facilities they need to answer the call during emergencies. But it is not enough, the State needs to continue investing in our volunteer fire departments and increase funding for the capital fund. Fire departments need help with retention, recruitment, and morale and increasing state support is critical for volunteer fire departments. I will continue to push for more state resources for our local fire departments.”
In addition to capital funding in the budget, the budget also provides funding to create a training fund which will pay for any work missed to attend trainings, and a college scholarship for volunteer firefighters. For too long we have relied on our volunteer fire departments without providing them the necessary resources. Today we took a step in the right direction towards adequately supporting our volunteers and making sure their needs are heard and met.