Auditor McGuiness: Volunteer Fire Service Saved Delawareans $255.7M for FY21, Annual Fire Report Shows
DOVER, DEL. – State Auditor Kathy McGuiness estimates the state’s volunteer fire service saved Delaware taxpayers nearly $255.7 million in fiscal year 2021.
“Delaware’s fire service is, and always has been, a tremendous asset to Delawareans,” McGuiness said. “As my team does every year, they performed a detailed cost analysis and identified what it would cost taxpayers to have an entirely state-employed fire service instead of having mostly volunteers.”
While the state has no plans to transform Delaware’s combination system into an entirely state-employed one, McGuiness’ office performs these calculations annually to show the fiscal value of having dedicated volunteer firefighters and EMTs.
“If the state were to have a fully state-employed fire service, it would cost Delawareans an exorbitant amount in property taxes,” McGuiness said. “For every $1,000 of a home’s assessed value, those residents would pay an additional $10.51. That means for a home assessed at $100,000, it would cost those residents an additional $1,051 in property taxes each year – just to support a fully state-employed fire service.”
McGuiness again recommends in this year’s report that the General Assembly consider creating a fund independent of Grant-In-Aid in the state budget to help pay for fire services.
“It takes adequate training, funding and resources to protect the public,” McGuiness continued. “To keep pace with call volume, career and volunteer fire service members need our support in ensuring proper funding to continue the long-standing and proud tradition the fire service has in Delaware.”
Anna Nuzzolese, Executive Assistant