Powhatan County won’t cut volunteer fire department funding after Taking Action investigation

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POWHATAN COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — The Powhatan County administrator has taken a proposal to eliminate rent assistance and uniform funds from three of the county’s five fire stations off the table.

The change comes after an 8News Taking Action investigation.

Volunteers were worried money problems could compromise the community’s safety. 

Powhatan volunteer firefighters have a passion for helping others. 

“We enjoy doing what we do,” said Scott Millett, District Cheif of the Deep Creek Volunteer Fire Company. 

They are now teaming up to make sure they have enough money to operate. In a statement to 8News, the county confirmed it’s looking at a plan to cut the budget for volunteer uniforms and give the departments less money to pay for rent. 

The county says it needs the money to pay for one of its EMS units. 

Right now, the county pays for vehicles, insurance, fuel and more for all five of its volunteer companies. 

“In one way you’re supporting us and at the same time, you’re cutting us off at the knees,” Millett said. “It’s a huge morale drain to try and cut this type of funding from us.”

He told 8News that the cuts would make it hard to pay bills and provide a service to the community.

“That will increase response times for the citizens that will possibly put lives in jeopardy,” Millett said. 

Bill Donati is a volunteer at Fine Creek, one of the companies that would be affected. He says it’s frustrating that county is taking from a group of people who do something they love for free. 

“Our volunteers do a whole lot for the community, having a strong volunteer base helps citizens save money in taxes every year,” Donati told 8News. 

8News reached out to all five supervisors. Larry Nordvig got back to us and says high morale is the key ingredient to a successful volunteer force and he doesn’t want to take any action to jeopardize that. 

The supervisors will discuss the proposed cuts during a meeting on Thursday. 

Find 8News on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.

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