Firefighter Funding Workgroup Concludes Meeting; Considers Draft Legislation

As previously reported by Conduit Street, a work group has been meeting to review and recommend changes to how funds are distributed to local governments under the Senator William H. Amoss, Fire, Rescue, and Ambulance Fund.  The Work Group to Study the Laws & Policies Related to the Distribution of Money to Volunteer & Career Fire Companies held its last formal meeting on Tuesday, November 19 and is now circulating a draft version of recommended legislation amongst the Work Group members.

MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp has represented MACo and the counties on the Work Group.  Senator Barry Glassman of Harford County served as Chair of the Work Group.  Additional members of the Work Group included State legislators and representatives of the Maryland State Firemen’s Association, Maryland Fire Chiefs Association, Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Council of the State of Maryland, and the Professional Firefighters of Maryland.  The Military Department, which is the State agency responsible for oversight of the Amoss Fund,  has both staffed and participated on the Work Group.

The draft legislation will clarify how the Amoss funding formula should be applied, specify when the Military Department must take action against counties that fail to meet the maintenance of effort (MOE) funding requirement, create a waiver process for the MOE requirement, better define the allowable uses of Amoss funding, and simplify some of the Amoss Fund’s administrative and accounting requirements.  MACo previously surveyed the counties for recommendations and suggestions regarding Amoss funding and will circulate a final draft of the Work Group’s report and proposed legislation to the counties for comment when they are available.