NEWBERRY — Newberry County fire departments are being asked to make a list of their top needs after the county has gotten a windfall of $77,000 to be used on fire department needs.
The issue arose after the Whitmire and Chappells fire departments asked for money for special projects.
The Whitmire Department is requesting $162,448 to make improvements to its building. The improvements would include handicapped bathrooms and making the building handicapped accessible, insulation, painting, floor drains, heating for the bay area, creation of a bay area and electrical work.
The County Council suggested spending $25,000 or under on a handicapped ramp, door and restroom.
The Chappells fire department is asking the county for $16,708.70 for a pump to go on its new boat. The pump would put water on fires around the lake and on lake areas where narrow roads will not allow fire trucks to go.
After the council committee heard the request, they said both were justified but they were displeased that the departments did not ask for the money during the budget process which ended in June.
They suggested that the groups submit the projects for the next budget year which starts July 1.
But Newberry County Administrator Wayne Adams says that this year the county has $77,000 in unallocated money that will go to the fire service.
The money was originally budgeted to meet the county’s funding for municipal fire departments. The allocation to the town departments are based on the property values in each area. The funding was over budgeted when the tabulations were made a couple of months ago.
The money not sent to the towns can now be used for county departments, said Adams.
Adams has instructed Newberry County Fire Coordinator Tommy Long to look at all the county fire departments and determine what projects or equipment were most needed and report the findings back to council.
Once the priorities are decided on they will be brought back to council for discussion.