Waynesboro Volunteer Fire and Borough finally, and officially, cut ties

12 December 2023- After an extended and at times drawn out process, the Borough of Waynesboro’s separation from the Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department looks to have been written into stone. A date of December 16 seems to have been agreed upon for a final date of association, at least in terms of fire apparatus.

Below is the official words from the Borough announcing the details of the separation, both physical and financial. It is in full.

Preparations for the Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department’s desired separation from the Borough of Waynesboro are concluding. The Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) informed the Borough of Waynesboro on September 5, 2023, in a letter from their attorney Kim Ross Houser, that they were taking steps to separate from the  Waynesboro Fire Department. In the letter, the VFD informed the Borough that it would no longer be affiliated with the Borough of Waynesboro after “December 29, 2023, or sooner.” A  mutually agreeable separation date was never established. Since receiving notice that the VFD  intended to leave, the Borough began preparing for the VFD’s departure.

The Borough has coordinated with the Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Relief Association for the purchase or return of equipment. The Borough has also coordinated the exchange of equipment with the VFD. In addition, the Borough has been preparing for the delivery of a new fire engine, acquired through  grant funds from the Commonwealth. Both entities have prepared for the relocation of apparatus and equipment to accommodate the separation as well as the new engine.  

Since September 2023, the Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department has removed much of its  property from the Borough’s Fire Station at 29 S. Potomac Street. Almost all property of both  entities has been exchanged. While the VFD’s separation process has been underway for months,  very little remains to be completed other than the administrative matters. On December 4, 2023,  the Borough of Waynesboro notified the VFD that, “any remaining VFD apparatus, property,  signage, and equipment must be removed from 29 S. Potomac Street no later than December 16,  2023, by 5:00 PM.” This date was selected to conclude the few remaining items related to the  separation before the holidays. The Borough will continue to pay for the fuel for VFD owned  apparatus during the VFD’s Santa Rides on December 12-14, 2023.  

The separation occurred despite numerous efforts of the Borough to reach a long-term  agreement with the VFD. After decades of operating without an agreement between the entities,  the Borough attempted to memorialize the long-standing practices in a written agreement  between the VFD and the Borough. This included financial support provided by the Borough. The  Borough felt that a written agreement was critical to outline responsibilities for insurance,  maintenance items, and financial responsibility. During negotiations, both parties agreed verbally that the Borough would continue to pay for fuel, routine maintenance, pump testing, ladder  testing, and insurance. Both parties also agreed to come together and discuss how major repairs  on apparatus would be funded. With the basic details worked out, Borough Council asked the  VFD to pay for half of the cost of drafting the document. The Borough remains disappointed that  the agreement was never finalized, but the VFD is an independent entity that is entitled to chart  its own course. 

Despite the proliferation of misinformation on social media, Borough Council has continued to  support the VFD through the separation process. Borough Council provided $52,121.93 in relief  funding to the Waynesboro Volunteer Fireman’s Relief Association. This money could have been  provided to any relief association in the Commonwealth. The Borough provided $5,000 to the  Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Police to reimburse them for their half of the joint purchase of the  former traffic unit. The Borough provided $5,000 to the VFD for the purchase of operational  equipment.

Regardless of the final date of separation, the Borough of Waynesboro will work with the  Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department through the transition, and in the future with continued  service delivery to the community. The VFD will continue to carry on the tradition of being  Company 2, and the Borough is proud that its Fire Department will continue to deliver life-saving  services twenty-four hours a day as Company 24.  

We thank the Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department, and all of the members of the  department, past and present, for their years of service in the community. We wish the  Waynesboro Volunteer Fire Department healthy, safe, and successful service for years to come.