Harford County's Volunteer Fire & EMS Association is still hoping Harford County Executive David Craig will be more flexible in his requirement that each of the county's 12 fire and EMS companies provide financial information.

Association president William Dousa will meet with Craig on Friday to discuss the memorandum requiring companies to disclose their budgets and prove they have bonding or insurance for their members.


County spokesman Bob Thomas said Tuesday only three companies so far have indicated they would sign the agreement.

"The reality is that if they do not sign within the next week, they are going to lose their second-quarter funding. It will be delayed until they sign," Thomas said.

Dousa said he is willing to work with the county but believes having companies sign individually poses a threat to the association.

"We are perfectly willing to give our financial records to the county," he said. "We really don't have anything to hide. It's just a matter of how we do it. We would like to remain uniform as an association so we are showing up as the Harford County Volunteer Fire & EMS Association."

Dousa could not say ahead of the meeting if the county would be amenable to his comments or what might come out of the discussion.

"I honestly can't tell you. I don't know what is going to happen," he said, explaining that having companies sign the agreement individually would affect the unity of the association and its bylaws.

"I hope we can find a common ground, because we want to make sure we get the information that the county needs to them," he said.

Thomas said only the volunteer companies of Joppa-Magnolia, Whiteford and the Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps have indicated they will sign, he said.

Those companies are scheduled to receive, respectively, $724,668, $371,722 and $219,284 in fiscal year 2012.

Aberdeen Fire Department, which is set to receive $639,532 from the county in fiscal year 2012 for operating expenses, abstained from making a decision.

"Joppa-Magnolia said it's being reviewed by their attorney and he has no grave concern," he said. "We are expecting others to begin to follow suit. There is nothing in the MOU that is sinister or difficult. There are a couple of areas that members of the companies have issues."

Thomas said the bonding requirement is one of them.

"There are very few companies that are bonding any of their officers or those who handle their finances, and that's the concern," he said.

However, "we learned last week that Jarrettsville [fire company] has bonded all of their members for years and it is not an exorbitant cost," he said.


Companies also raised concerns about providing a budget on top of an audit, which they have already been doing since the mid-1990s.

He said the requirements in the MOU are not different from those in neighboring jurisdictions, and noted Baltimore County is more stringent in its regulation of fire and EMS finances.

Thomas also said Harford County's funding of emergency workers has been "substantial," far beyond what is provided by Garrett, Allegany and many Eastern Shore counties.

"Other volunteer companies are not funded as well as they are in Harford County," he said.

Leaders of several fire companies did not respond to request for comment. Tony Coliano, president of Bel Air Volunteer Fire Company, declined to comment, explaining the association represents his company.

The county is set to pay about $11.8 million to companies in 2012, which includes $4.9 million for items like workers' compensation and the EMS Foundation.

Besides the companies of Whiteford, Joppa-Magnolia and Havre de Grace Ambulance Corps, the county plans to give $394,598 to Susquehanna Hose, $466,444 to Jarrettsville, $482,374 to Fallston, $382,929 to Darlington, $911,182 to Bel Air, $760,279 to Abingdon, $403,448 to Level and $1.1 million to Norrisville.