This is where the money is going

On May 31, Mulgrave Volunteer Fire Department chief Michael Breen presented a checque for $2,000 to the president of the Royal Canadian Legion in Mulgrave, Keith MacDonald, to help with renovations at the Legion building.

Editor’s note: The following was written to the mayor, council and taxpayers of the Town of Mulgrave.

It has come to our attention that we are being asked what we are doing with the money the fire department is raising.

First, we would like to let you know the amount of money we are saving the town is phenomenal, with no expense to taxpayers. The trucks, equipment, fire gear, and helmets – which are mostly outdated – and the upkeep of the hall upstairs and down, is not an easy task. Each year we are asked to have cut backs on our budget, and we do comply, but then are asked for more, which makes it very hard to operate our department.

We do apply for funds and sometimes are lucky enough to receive them. These funds have to go towards certain projects that they are allocated for. Dances now seem to be a thing of the past and are not a good fundraiser anymore, but in the past, they were a great fundraiser which raised a lot of money for our department. Over the last few years, our biggest fundraiser is our Chase the Ace and our annual Casino Night, but this was our last year as most of us have given our lives to volunteering and are now tired and worn out. The money from the Casino Night fundraiser was offered to the school revitalization group, with all our information and sponsors.

In 2001, we purchased a new pumper. The department agreed to pay 50 per cent of the cost, we fundraised and paid the town our 50 per cent which was $125,000.

The department saw a need for seniors and the disabled to enter the upstairs banquet room, so a pedway, and a parking lot to the upstairs banquet room were built at a cost of approximately $50,000. This was paid from our fundraising, with no funds from the town or taxpayers.

An addition to the downstairs hall of 40-feet by 60-feet was added with no cost the town. This project was over $100,000.

Over the years, there were a lot of other little projects the department paid for at no cost to the town.

In 2017, our response truck needed a new chassis, which the department fundraised $30,000 to pay for, which is now safe to drive.

Since our Chase the Ace, we have done a lot of major repairs to the fire hall which we take pride in to keep the hall safe and accessible for public use.

First, we replaced the rug upstairs in our banquet room which was disgustingly stained. This project cost the department $48,000.

We also donated $1,000 each to St. Lawrence Parish, St. Andrew’s Parish, Trinity United Church, and the Royal Canadian Legion in Mulgrave, a total of $4,000.

Our bar area desperately needed an update at the cost of $20,000 which now is functional for the workers.

Our washrooms needed to be renovated, so with the advice of an engineering company, we had the washrooms brought up to code at a cost of $89,000. This was a well needed renovation, especially for the women’s bathrooms.

The upstairs kitchen needed replacement of the dishes, table cloths, etc. at a cost of $3,816. This project is not completed. This is being done so we can rent the kitchen to people or caterers for parties, weddings, etc. The upstairs is also used by all church groups free-of-charge.

We donated $2,000 to the legion for a project they were doing.

Among the donations to our department, Martin Marietta has donated $1,000 for the last five years, which is used for equipment.

All our helmets are expired and out-of-date. This is not our decision, this is code. The total cost for helmets was $8,165. DSM generously donated $5,000 towards our helmets, and with town HST of $760, we will have to pay $2,404.

We applied for the Emergency Providers Fund to fire equipment. The cost for 11 sets of new bunker gear ordered for 11 members, as they are all out dated, cost $48,000. The provider fund will pay up to $20,000, the department will fundraise to pay the remainder of this cost, $28,000. Again, no cost to the town or taxpayers.

As most of you know, our generator needed to be repaired. The town was asked to cover this cost but refused at this time. Enbridge generously donated $7,500 towards the repairs. If there is a balance, it is still up for discussion with the town.

We are in the process of raising money to replace the chassis in our 1991 tanker, which we are going to bring up-to-date. The estimated cost of the chassis alone is approximately $130,000. Money raised from our Casino Night and Chase the Ace will be applied to this project.

In closing, we have donated our time and energy to raise approximately $500,000 over the last 18 years to our department and hall, at no cost to the town and taxpayers.

This does not include the town operating budget of $62,000 a year, which pays for the operating cost of the hall, and some equipment and repairs.

You ask what we do with the money the department raised, I hope this answers some of your questions.

Michael Breen

Fire Chief

Mulgrave