The New Market Volunteer Fire Department is fighting a budget battle.
Monday, New Market town leaders voted to defund the volunteer department’s entire budget.
This week, the firefighters are hosting their annual Summerfest fundraiser, but instead of helping to cover a few gaps, the money raised could be a necessity to keep their operation up and running.
“They never gave us a reason why, they just said they didn't have the money to fund us,” said Adam Pittman, a firefighter.
Originally, the department was getting $26,000 annually. Last year, town officials cut that in half, leaving them with about $13,000. And now, they’re left with no budget at all.
Typically, NMVF used its budget to help cover the department’s insurance, which they must have to operate.
“I guess we will have to have more fundraisers or something to pay for it,” said Frank Solomon, the fire chief.
Despite past budget reductions, the department had managed to keep growing. They recently opened a new substation in Strawberry Plains, thanks to donations.
The department said they hope town leaders will recognize the value of their volunteers and their service.
Without money, the town would move to a subscriber service, meaning a fire service would have to charge residents to put out a blaze.
For more information about Summerfest, click here.