Small increase revealed at Albion Fire's annual meeting

Small increase revealed at Albion Fire's annual meeting

LINCOLN –The Albion Fire District held its annual taxpayer meeting on Oct. 13 at the Albion station, streamed live for residents in the village who were unable to attend.

Albion Fire Chief Richard Andrews announced an overall budget increase of 3.2 percent, which he said will help cover rising costs including increases for employees, station maintenance, insurance and apparatus costs.

Andrews said the district’s $1.3 million 2020-2021 budget, an increase of $41,309, was “carefully prepared, taking into consideration the safety and well-being of the people of Albion and of our firefighters during this unprecedented time,” noting unexpected financial hardships created by the pandemic.

The Albion station on School Street is now 20 years old and starting to show its age, Andrews said, and the district’s trucks are “also starting to age and require upkeep.”

He told residents the district is requesting a three-cent tax increase on residential property, from $1.40 to $1.43, which would be a $7 increase for the year on a home assessed at $250,000.

“This year especially has been a trying year with coronavirus, and we’ve asked our firefighters to fulfill their duties without knowing whether they’ve contracted the disease and may bring it home to their families. Even though this is the firefighters’ job, it’s not easy knowing what could happen,” Andrews said, thanking the firefighters for their “professionalism and selfless dedication” to the district.

Albion has been able to maintain a safe station so far “through their hard work and dedication,” he said, reporting that the current team is made up of six career firefighters and 19 part-time or per diem firefighters.

During the meeting he announced two grants earned this year to help purchase new chainsaws, a generator with an LED light for searches, and new training trailers. In addition, he said the station received a $75,000 donation from the family of Sam Riendeau, a dedicated volunteer, to help purchase a new hydraulic rescue tool for $35,000.

The chief said the rest of the money was put in a separate account for future use.