October 30, 2009

County commissioner explains $250,000 to Stanley Rural Fire District

County commissioner explains $250,000 to Stanley Rural Fire District
A $250,000 funding request back in August to the Stanley Rural Fire District has some people wondering why the other fire departments in the county weren’t notified of the fund or its budget.
The New Town News and Mountrail County Record have fielded a number of phone calls and emails regarding the situation, suggesting that the Stanley Rural Fire District was favored over fire departments in New Town, Parshall and Plaza.
Not so, says Mountrail County Commissioner David Hynek, who spoke candidly about the quarter-million dollar allocation that is expected to be paid out to the Stanley department from the 2010 budget sometime in January or February. Stanley was merely the catalyst that created the fund and is the first recipient.
Hynek said the Stanley department first approached the commissioners in July because it was having a difficult time on its own raising money to purchase a pumper truck with foam capability, something that is apparently an industry standard in oil country.
At that time, Hynek said the commission looked at funding the Stanley request through its 911 or infrastructure funds, but stipulations stymied either fund from working in favor of the Stanley firefighters.
Budget considerations for 2010 were being discussed at the same time so Hynek said commissioners decided to set up a “Rural Fire and Ambulance Assistance” fund beginning in 2010. The decision became a line item in the 2010 budget.
Then, during the Aug. 4 meeting, the commisson voted to establish the fund and later voted to allocate $250,000 to the Stanley department. But again, he said, it isn’t coming out of 2009 monies, so it wasn’t “allocated” immediately.
In no way shape or form does this favor the Stanley department, according to Hynek. He said the fund was actually designed to have a $500,000 balance because commissioners knew the other departments and ambulance squads would be interested in getting some of the funding to build up their own departments. And they are welcome to apply for the remaining $250,000 that is in the budget for 2011 and back up to $500,000 in 2012.

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