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The Lancaster Town Board has scheduled a meeting with Bowmansville Fire Company officials to discuss the possibility of a fire district as a means to solve the company's financial problems.

The meeting will be held at 7:30 p.m. May 23 in the Bowmansville Fire Hall, 36 Main St.

The company must now conduct fund-raising efforts to supplement the appropriation it receives from the town, and a declining membership is making it increasingly difficult to raise the needed funds, said William MacPeek, fire company president.

A finance committee has studied the problem and concluded, "We'd be better off with a district," MacPeek said.

He referred further questions to Gary Schroeck, committee co-chairman, who could not be reached.

The town outside the villages now forms a fire protection district which is financed by $991,262 in town funds, all but $10,300 of which is raised by property taxes.

The four fire companies receive a total of $649,881. An additional $213,000 is allocated for the firefighters' retirement program.

The other fire companies are Twin District, serving South Lancaster, East Lancaster and Town Line.

A fire district, as opposed to a fire protection district, would finance its own budget with a property tax rate set by an elected district board of commissioners. The town assessment roll would be used and the fire district tax would be included as a separate item on town tax bills.

Councilman Thomas H. VanNortwick, head of the Town Board's Public Safety Committee, said he received the request for a meeting from the Bowmansville company and relayed it to the board.

VanNortwick said he is interested in discussing possible solutions to the Bowmansville company's financial problems, which, he said, appear to be shared by the other fire companies.

MacPeek said membership is now about 60, down from 80 a few years ago, and requirements for training and safety procedures do not leave the firefighters enough time to conduct the fund-raising the company needs.

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