When: Ephrata Township Supervisors Meeting, July 19.
What happened: Supervisors voted 3 to 0 to spend $200,000 of its American Rescue Plan Act funding on contributions to three fire companies – Ephrata Pioneer, Lincoln and Akron. Contributions would go to fire apparatus funds, which are used to purchase vehicles and equipment.
Background: The action was filed on June 21 due to the absence of Supervisor Anthony Haws and Vice President Ty Zerbe’s request that the Board await his opinion on the matter and be part of the decision. The township will receive $1.09 million in bailout funds. The federal government made the final decision earlier this year, allowing a “wide range of flexibility” on how municipalities can spend or invest dollars for general government purposes. Funds must be spent by December 31, 2024.
Breakdown: Ephrata Pioneer Fire Company and Lincoln Fire Company will each receive $82,000, while Akron Fire Company will receive $36,000. Township Manager Steve Sawyer said after the meeting that the township would wait to receive the second payment of U.S. stimulus funds before disbursing the contributions to the fire companies. The funds will be distributed in the same way as the annual contributions to the general fund.
Decision making: Supervisor Anthony Haws said he’s “all for the $200,000”, feeling it’s important to support their local fire departments who put their lives on the line on a voluntary basis. Council chairman Clark Stauffer said he believes the township should contribute $150,000 and add the $50,000 in the future due to recent inflation. Zerbe shared Haws’ opinion on dedicating $200,000 to the three local fire companies.
response to fire: Lincoln Fire Chief Rich Gehman said he supports the township dividing $200,000 to help local fire companies fund future appliance purchases. He also told township officials that the Lincoln Fire Company greatly appreciates their contribution.
And after: Council will meet at 7:00 p.m. on August 2 at the Township of Ephrata Municipal Building at 265 Akron Road, Ephrata.