For Fire Departments, More to State Budget Than Numbers

This isn’t about the town of West, but the devastating fire and explosion there underscore something you might not have known: the vast majority of fire departments in Texas are staffed by volunteers.

Texas has 1,435 registered fire departments, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and 85.6 percent of them are staffed either mostly or entirely by volunteer firefighters.

West is one of those.

So let’s use the volunteer fire departments for a little thought experiment.

Lawmakers decided more than a decade ago — and this is a tax- and fee-averse group of people — to assess ...

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