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Delaware Firefighters Saved Taxpayers $244 Million Says State Auditor

Yesterday, Delaware State Auditor Kathy McGuiness released the Delaware Volunteer Fire Service Special Report. This year, the Auditor’s Office estimated that the Delaware volunteer fire service saved the state taxpayers over $244 million for fiscal year ending June 30, 2020.

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The volunteer fire service has a long-standing and proud tradition in the State of Delaware, said McGuiness. Volunteer firefighters devote a great deal of time and personal sacrifice — they are the backbone of the operation of a 2020 volunteer fire company, providing social, community, and financial value. For over 200 years, these volunteer fire companies have been a part of the fabric of Delaware communities.

“These volunteers not only sacrifice their time and energy, but they also saved the state taxpayers more of more than $244 million this past fiscal year,” said McGuiness. “Volunteer first responders save lives and my special report recognizes their value while ensuring transparency to the Delaware taxpayer.”

This year, Delaware’s volunteer fire service is dealing with a pandemic posing several challenges for first responders. Volunteer firefighters and emergency personnel face a high likelihood of exposure to the virus, in addition to the monetary losses of holding fundraisers and events.

“First responders are on the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic,” said McGuiness. “We should not only give them the recognition they deserve, but also give our support to upholding the longevity of the volunteer fire service in Delaware.”

I recommend Congress pass additional stimulus funds that include funding to state and local governments. The new stimulus should prioritize firefighters who are on the frontlines of this virus to make sure they have the appropriate supplies, personal protective equipment, and funding to continue providing these necessary services to the public. In the immediate term, the Governor should allocate CARES Act funding to these volunteer companies to ensure their current needs are satisfied. Lawmakers should also create a fund independent of Grant-in-Aid to extend the longevity of the volunteer fire service in Delaware.

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First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at desk@firststateupdate.com.

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