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Cornelius News

Fire Dept. fundraising under way

Dec. 4. The annual Cornelius-Lemley Volunteer Fire Dept. fund drive is underway. The non-profit 501c3 organization relies on financial contributions from the town, Mecklenburg County and MEDIC, as well as residents and business owners, to fully fund operations.

“Our fundraising goal this year is $60,000” said Chief Guerry Barbee. “This money is not earmarked for any specific line item, but rather included as part of our overall operating budget.”

Chief Barbee

Barbee said that due to the COVID-19 crisis, the department allocated un-budgeted funds to equip firefighters with Personal Protective Equipment.

The overall fire department budget is $1.72 million, with the vast majority ($1.56 million) coming from the town. Most of the firefighters in Cornelius are paid part-timers who work full time at other municipalities nearby.

At last count, there were 78 active members: 68 part-timers and 10 volunteers. The current town budget included $186,930 to initiate the transition from part-time to career firefighters. It will take years before the department is staffed with strictly career firefighters and, even then, there may be a place for part-timers and volunteers.

Barbee said the department responded to 3,073 calls for service in 2019 including 1,602 emergency medical calls and 1,471 fire service calls. The average response time was 4 minutes, 55 seconds.

Contributions are tax deductible and may be sent to Cornelius-Lemley Volunteer Fire and Rescue, PO Box 311, Cornelius 28031. No online donations at this point.