82 / 72
      80 / 72
      63 / 55

      Budget cuts hurt local fire departments

      Texas State Capitol

      Volunteer fire departments wait as state legislators prepare a budget that will decide how much funding will be provided for the next two years.

      Last session the Volunteer Department budget was cut 75 percent, causing many departments to cut back on jobs and equipment.

      The cuts make it harder to find people to join the band of brothers.

      In the last few years we TMve suffered major cuts, probably millions of dollars and it affects volunteer fire departments like ours, Alamo Fire Chief Rolando Espinoza said.

      Last state session, law makers cut funds from $30,000,000 to $7,000,000.

      Usually man power goes first, Chief Rolando said.

      He said it is important to maintain equipment that firefighters use.

      We don TMt want to put them out there, that would cost us in the long run if someone TMs life is in danger, Chief Rolando said. They could loose their lives you know, that is the worst.

      The Alamo Fire Department gets funding from the city and from state grant money.

      Chief Rolando said volunteer firefighters make up half of his staff.

      For us, volunteers are vital to have around, he said.

      Volunteers are paid very little for their time.

      It really hurts us in the long run, establish a volunteer fire department to get volunteers to the city, Joseph Hernandez, Alamo Fire Inspector, said.

      A budget conference committee of five state senators that includes state Senator Juan Hinojosa of District 20 in McAllen is negotiating the 2014-15 budget.

      It is expected to be presented by the end of next week.

      If you would like to sign a petition to ask legislators to provide more funding for Volunteer Fire Departments, visit