Clifford, firefighters begin contract talks

CLIFFORD – Lacking a formal contract since 2015, the Clifford Town Board is preparing to open negotiations with the Clifford Volunteer Fire Department to provide fire protection for the town.

Clifford Fire Department Chief Charlie Moore confirmed the department has continued to provide fire protection without any monetary support from the town since 2015.

That was the year the town obtained a $22,000 grant to help purchase a fire engine for the department, according to Moore and Clifford Town Board President Danny James.

The fire department agreed to not seek compensation from the town for five years after that purchase, but Moore has since learned the town is still required to have a contract with the fire department to provide protection, he said.

As it was, the town was paying the fire department $2,500 a year for its contract prior to 2015, which wasn’t enough to cover the fire department’s insurance, the fire chief said.

He estimated the cost of running the department, including the cost of the fire station, fuel and other supplies, is about $60,000, with firefighters serving the department as volunteers and not receiving any pay.

The firefighters raise the money to operate the volunteer fire department on their own through fundraisers, Moore said.

There has been no interruption of fire protection service as a result of not having a formal contract with the fire department, James said.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.