Firefighters say county should keep volunteers Proposal for fire tax for southwest substation criticized

August 11, 1993|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Staff Writer

The Carroll County Firemen's Association wants local firehouses to remain volunteer companies, and they are against a proposal to build a fire substation in the southwest section of Carroll with a fire tax.

In a meeting with the county commissioners Monday, Bill Gabeler, the association's president, said he was recently alerted to the fire tax proposal in the Southwest Carroll County Comprehensive Plan, which recommends building a new fire station, hiring full-time, paid firefighters and purchasing new equipment.

The plan, which is in the draft stage and is at least 1 1/2 years away from serious consideration by the county commissioners, suggested that county officials evaluate the possibility of establishing a special tax district to fund a fully or partially paid fire company.

It was prepared by the Southwest Carroll Citizens' Advisory Committee and Carroll County Department of Planning, but has been delayed at least until late 1994 by the county commissioners at the planners' request.

The plan recommends building the fire station in a "Traditional Town" proposed for an area east of Woodbine Road that is roughly bounded by Howard County on the south, Fannie Dorsey Road on the north, Route 97 on the east and Morgan Road on the west.

Mr. Gabeler said the study estimated the cost of the proposal at $1.48 million, a figure he disputes, considering the cost of the equipment and a new building.

He recommended keeping the volunteer fire companies to save taxpayers money.

Also at the Monday meeting, Jesse Salley, president of the Carroll County Ambulance Association, asked the commissioners to find a portable classroom unit for the required Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training for ambulance crew members.

She said Carroll paramedics currently go to Essex Community College for their training.

Ms. Salley said much of the information offered to the paramedics at the college is for new paramedics, is repetitive and is already known and used by most experienced personnel.

A classroom near the Emergency Operations Center in Westminster would save time and money in training EMTs, who are required to be recertified regularly within the county, she said.

Current training is conducted on a space-available basis at Westminster High School, she said, but it's inconvenient to transport teaching materials such as mannequins, books and emergency equipment to and from classes each time.

The commissioners indicated they would consider portable classrooms for the training and told J. Michael Evans, the general services director, to get cost information.

Mr. Gabeler also asked the commissioners to authorize a third full-time night shift dispatcher for the EOC because the number of calls for service is increasing.

The commissioners promised to consider it.

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