Talbot County, like other counties on the Eastern Shore, relies completely on volunteer firefighters, many of whom work other jobs to make a living.
The stipend is an effort started by the Talbot County Council. Council President Corey Pack said the council found $56,000 in extra funding in its fiscal year 2014 budget for the bonuses.
The funds will be distributed among fire departments in the county, and evenly to all volunteer firefighters who qualify. Stipends will go out based on the state’s point system, which is based on factors like volunteer time, the number of meetings attended and the number of calls firefighters responded to in 2014.
According to the Talbot County manager’s office, there are 305 firefighters eligible for the bonus, which works out to a little less than $185 per person.
“We’re excited about it. We’re happy we could do it, and it is just a small way that the county council wanted to say thank you to our volunteer firemen,” Pack said.