Warren Fire Department hit twice by budget cuts

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The biggest financial loser in this year’s budget cuts could be the Warren Fire Department, which will have to make do without $470,000 worth of items officials wanted.

Warren budget cuts: A closer look at the numbers

As part of their cost-cutting measures, town council members last week eliminated a $225,000 request by the department which would have provided “paramedic services” to the Town of Warren. Officials this year — but before last week’s broad cost-cutting moves — also declined to put the purchase of a new $245,000 rescue truck in the department’s capital budget.

“We knew going in that it was going to be tough,” Fire Chief Al Galinelli said of this year’s budget deliberations.

Chief Galinelli has asked for the paramedic services money three times over the past year, and each time has been turned down. The money would have been used to pay professional paramedics to help augment Warren’s rescue staff during the day.

“When the budget’s got to be cut, that’s what they cut first,” he said. “I understand that. We were just looking to see if we could enhance our services. If I had to go for either (of the items cut), I’d ask for a new truck.”

While he said he can live without the additional paramedic help, he is more troubled at not being approved for a new rescue truck, which as a capital item would have been funded by bonds. The department currently has two rescue trucks, and both are getting on in years and miles.

It’s been a busy, tough year for the department’s main line ambulance, Rescue 2. Since the beginning of the year the town has spent close to $3,000 on the vehicle. It’s needed rear brakes, suspension work and other repairs. In addition, it has high miles though it was only purchased a few years ago.

Chief Galinelli said the department’s trucks are still reliable, but maintaining them will continue to become more extensive every year.

Meanwhile, he said, it’s in the town’s financial interest to make sure the department has adequate trucks, as with third party insurance billing “they’re money makers for the town.”

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chiefbullish

"Moneymakers" & "Town" should never mix. Just an fyi. My two cents as a tax paying citizen. So people who are in dire straights and need a fast life saving lift to the hospital are profit centers? Hmm just leaves a foul taste in my mouth.

Monday, April 14, 2014 | Report this
Whitey38

Marc, just an fyi....what the Chief was saying, was that with third party billing, Emergency Medical Services basically pay for themselves. I don't live in Warren, but I would guess that the Rescue probably brings in $300k a year. Most likely, that money goes into the General Fund for your town of Warren and gets used on other things. And, "people in dire straits" don't get billed if they're town residents. Their insurance company gets billed. All in all, it's a great situation for the town but Fire/EMS need reliable and adequate equipment. Hope this clears up the foul taste in your mouth.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 | Report this
Whitey38

Well said Tats!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 | Report this

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