State Fund Helps Schoharie County Vol Fire/ems

James L. Seward

February 02, 2008

An annual state report shows the effectiveness of the state's emergency services revolving loan fund in helping provide equipment for the fire and ambulance squads of the state's rural areas, Senator James L. Seward said today. Seward is chairman of the Senate Majority Task Force on Emergency Volunteer Services, and authored the legislation establishing the loan program.

The Department of State's annual report to the legislature and governor shows that Schoharie County has benefitted from seven loans worth $1.1 million, including loans for the Town of Wright Fire District ($60,000); Village of Schoharie ($115,000); Village of Richmondville ($150,000); Village of Cobleskill ($150,000); Richmondville Vol Ambulance Squad ($300,000) and the Scho-Wright Ambulance Service ($300,000). A loan worth $42,500 for the Town of Richmondville has been repaid. In Seward's district, more than $ 2.5 million has been disbursed in the form of loans.

"The program has provided tremendous benefits to our rural areas and that means saved lives and protection of property," Seward said. "The loan program offers fire companies and districts the equipment and the facilities they need to do what they do best: respond to life threatening emergencies and save the lives and property of their community, neighbors and friends."

Loans are authorized by the NYS Emergency Services Loan Board, and to date, 347 loans worth more than $39 million have been awarded to 121 fire/ambulance companies, 13 cities, one county, 116 fire districts, 13 towns and 83 villages.

Fire and EMS officials who are interested in the program may contact Seward's office for an complete listing of fire and EMS grants, both state and federal, available to fire companies, districts and EMS squads.

"The emergency services revolving loan fund is a genuine success story," Seward said, "a real winner for local governments."

The program is financed by repayments to the fund, budget authority and a 911 surcharge on wireless telephone calls. Seward won an initial $7.5 million to capitalize the fund in 1994.