Aberdeen's fire department wants to replace one of its fire stations and get new equipment, while the city's police department wants a "multijurisdictional SWAT team" that pools resources with Bel Air and Havre de Grace.
Chuck Glassman, vice president of the fire department, told the city council during a work session Monday afternoon that the department is a year behind on replacing an ambulance, for a cost of $165,000, needs a new roof on the station in Perryman and also hopes to replace the station near the Boys & Girls Club.
Glassman said that station is "probably the oldest."
"That station needs to be updated and replaced to meet current needs," he said.
The station does not meet federal handicap-accessibility requirements and does not have sleeping quarters, he said.
The replacement is a "long-range" project and Glassman said an architect is set to do a feasibility study.
"We are way behind," he said about the standards of the station. "We have older people in the fire department who can't get to the second floor."
"It's something that has to be done down the road," he said.
At least two new ambulances, two engines and a rescue truck are also needed for the department as a whole, he said.
But tough economic times mean the department will have a deficit, he said.
"We're struggling to meet our needs," he said, noting the department has started a program to educate business people and residents about what the fire department does and what it costs volunteers to run it.
Glassman said the department only gets about $62,000 in donations, which is "way, way below what we should be getting."
"Hopefully our donations will rise," he said.
The department also wants to start a recruitment program to get cadets, possibly from the Boys & Girls Club, he said.
To bring in more young people, however, the stations need more amenities, he said.
Glassman asked the council for guidance and suggestions, and Mayor Mike Bennett said he would be in touch about what the city can do to help.
"I think as a team, we can put our heads together and see what we can do to help get these projects off the ground," Glassman said.
Bennett asked City Manager Doug Miller to point out that if the city had a paid fire department instead of a volunteer one, residents would pay about 25 or 30 cents more in taxes.
Bennett said he finds it "very unsettling" that the city has a "premier" fire department but only gets $62,000 each year from its residents.
Councilwoman Sandra Landbeck said she wonders if newcomers to Aberdeen even know the firefighters were unpaid.