ST. JOHN | Fire Chief Fred Willman left Thursday’s Town Council meeting knowing the fire safety training facility the town operates is on strong financial footing.
Breaking with tradition, rather than grant an annual $10,000 donation to support the training facility, the Town Council approved a five-year agreement at $15,000 per year.
“This is a great vote of confidence for us,” Willman said.
“We hope this gives our fire department peace of mind,” said Council President Mike Forbes, R-at large. “We constantly get comments about the quality of our training facility.”
Willman said fire departments across a five-county region utilize the training facility, which has been located in St. John for about the past 20 years. The facility’s operation is supported by donations and St. John Volunteer Fire Department fundraising activities. The annual stipend from the town helps offset maintenance and other operational costs, such as insurance.
Willman noted the fire department recently took out a $50,000 loan to refurbish the facility, and that no one is charged to use the facility but must adhere to certain safety standards for training activities.
“The relationship is like a mutual-aid agreement between fire departments,” Willman said. “We don’t bill each other to help fight a fire in a neighboring town.”