By Curt Peterson
Killington selectmen reviewed a resolution Monday night, March 28, making the Killington Fire and Rescue (KF&R) organization a department within the town after more than 65 years of independence.
Previously, KF&R, nee Sherburne Volunteer Fire Department, has been its own corporation staffed entirely by volunteers. At one time it owned its own trucks purchased with funds raised by the firemen, and firehouse facilities.
In recent years, according to Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth, KF&R’s expenses, including rolling stock, firehouse and equipment, have been paid for by the town under a “contract for services” arrangement between Killington and the KF&R corporation. Some of the expenses were made directly, and some in the form of reimbursements.
Last year the new Public Services Building on Killington Road was completed, which houses KF&R. The old firehouse was then sold. The proceeds — over $400,000 — went to offset the costs of the new facility.
In addition, Hagenbarth said, the volunteers are “aging out” and replacements are hard to come by. The timing is also convenient; the Sherburne contract with the town is about to expire and would require renewal anyway.
As the fire department becomes part of the town, Sherburne Volunteer Fire Department Inc. (d.b.a. Killington Fire and Rescue) will be dissolved, all according to Vermont statute.
Hagenbarth told the Mountain Times, “we plan to hire a full-time chief,” and the position will likely be posted soon. The town’s budget that passed on Town Meeting Day included a full time fire chief and a part time (20 hours per week) position.
The resolution outlines organization of the new department to include the chief, two captains and two lieutenants, referred to as the “officers.”
“This is pretty much the Woodstock model,” Hagenbarth said.” This is how they’re set up.”
He told the selectmen it will be part of the chief’s job to recruit and manage volunteers as firefighters and emergency services persons, but the Town Manager will have overall responsibility for all human resources.
Volunteer firefighters are paid a stipend each time they show up to a call. But it’s minimal.
Current KF&R Chief Gary Roth was present at the meeting and made helpful suggestions to amend the resolution.
Selectmen tabled voting on the resolution pending amendments, which Hagenbarth made and the final resolution was posted on the town website after the meeting. The resolution is expected to be approved and signed by the board on April 11, or sooner if there is a special meeting before then.
Once the resolution is signed by the board it takes effect.