The Greene County Board of Supervisors approved an exemption to its emergency vehicle replacement policy for Ruckersville Volunteer Fire Department (RVFD) at its May 14 regular meeting. The board approved the deviation 4-1 with Monroe Supervisor David Cox voting against.
Frank Crocker, president of RVFD, asked the board at the April 23 meeting if the department could use the $210,000 allocation for fiscal year 2020 toward debt on one engine instead of purchasing a new apparatus.
Melissa Meador, emergency services manager, said the purpose of the policy was to be sure fire and rescue departments were able to have quality equipment and a way to manage the funding for the fleets at the county level.
Crocker noted in an email to the board that using that $210,000 will release the department from the remaining debt on Engine 21, purchased eight years ago this fall.
“It does seem to follow the intent of the original plan,” said Atlarge Supervisor Dale Herring.
Chair Bill Martin, Stanardsville District, agreed adding that the board needs to revisit the policy.
“Mr. Crocker told us in this room that y’alls tanker was down and had been down in excess of 12 months,” Cox said. “Is it true you’re interested in selling the tanker?”
RVFD Chief Sean Ryan told the board they department plans to sell the tanker and not replace it.
“That is where I get my heart burn,” Cox said. “This is rural firefighting at its worst in Greene County. What we need is water supply. I thought we had a good program. I agree … the whole program needs to be overhauled all the way through. I cannot sit here tonight and support this—support advancing money to pay off debt that we’re paying on.”
Ryan told the board that the majority of the area is covered by Rapidan Service Authority (RSA) and has hydrants.
“I inherited quite a mess,” Ryan said. “I’ve been chief for four years now. This is a decision we’re basing off previous run calls. Our biggest debt right now is Tower 27. Our buildings got bigger so we purchased the tower.”
Ryan noted the use of Stanardsville and Dyke volunteer fire departments’ tankers to areas not serviced by RSA.
“Getting rid of this debt will be huge for us,” Ryan said. “As far as the tanker, we’d like to revisit that. We would be looking at about 1,050 gallons based on what we use per fire.”