|County VFDs get $151K in grants from Texas Forest Service|
|Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor|
Dec. 1, 2005 -- Four of the county's volunteer fire departments earlier this week were approved for Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program grant awards totaling $151,347 for equipment from the Texas Forest Service, according to Hopkins County Judge Cletis Millsap.
During the first funding meeting for this fiscal year, Arbala, Brinker, Como and Dike Volunteer Fire Departments were each designated to receive awards ranging from $10,100 to more than $106,000.
The largest chunk of that funding, $105,568 will go to Arbala Volunteer Fire Department for the purchase of a new 2,000 gallon tanker. The next largest amount awarded by TFS is $23,400, which Como Volunteer Fire Department will use to obtain a small truck chassis. Brinker and Dike Volunteer Fire Departments were each awarded grants for rescue equipment. Brinker was dubbed to receive $10,129 while Dike will benefit from $11,250, Hopkins County Fire Chief Carl Nix informed Millsap by e-mail.
The grants were made available thanks to House Bill 2604, passed by the 77th Texas Legislature in 2001, establishing the Rural Volunteer Fire Department Assistance Program which makes $15 million available annually to assist volunteer fire departments with the purchase of equipment and training.
�This program has brought in to Hopkins County thousands of dollars to assist our county volunteer fire department," Millsap said. "I would encourage all the county VFDs to apply if they have not submitted an application in the first round funding, to get one in for January 2006."
TFS conducted its first funding meeting for fiscal year 2006 on Nov. 2, when the local VFDs were awarded their share of the approximately $5.2 million in grants given to Texas volunteer fire departments.
All departments awarded a grant at the November meeting will receive official notice of approval. Any applications for assistance not approved at this meeting will automatically roll forward and will be reviewed at future funding meeting. The next funding meeting is scheduled to be held in January 2006, according to Millsap.