Make it happen

Published 7:42 pm Sunday, April 12, 2009

It is a dilemma that needs fixing.

The question comes in how does it happen?

It is true the 12 fire departments of Bertie County need more funding than they currently receive. The $10,000 annually doesn’t even begin to touch the cost of running rural fire departments.

The county has given regularly to the 12 departments and has even added a sum of money every other year to be used for capital. In turn, the local fire departments have worked diligently to earn the funds they absolutely have to have.

Now, several of them are in dilemma mode. They desperately need new trucks to get the job done and continue answering fire calls on a regular basis. By the same token, the county commissioners will probably have their tightest budget in many years when the 2009-10 budget is presented.

It will take a lot of work on behalf of the fire departments themselves, the Bertie County Firefighters Association, Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb and the Bertie County Commissioners to make increased funding happen.

Already, at Monday’s meeting of the Bertie County Commissioners, a variety of options were given as to how the increased funding could take place. There are pros and cons of virtually all of the plans, but something must be done if people are to continue to receive the protection rural fire departments offer.

We need our rural fire departments.

We need to keep costs down as much as possible.

We need for the two groups to work together and come up with a plan that best allows people in Bertie County to keep the protection of their local fire departments, but not by costing them more than they can afford to spend.

We implore the Bertie County Commissioners and the Bertie County Firefighter’s Association to come together to devise a plan we can all live with. The citizens are counting on both of you.

– The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald.