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Texas Government Code - GOV'T § 614.102. Administration of Program

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(a) The Texas A&M Forest Service shall administer the program established under this subchapter, and the director may adopt rules necessary to assist volunteer fire departments in paying for equipment, including the replacement or repair of equipment, and training of personnel, including by providing emergency assistance under Section 614.103(a-1).

(b) The service may employ staff to administer the program.

(c) The director shall:

(1) determine reasonable criteria and qualifications for the distribution of money from the volunteer fire department assistance fund, including:

(A) the frequency, size, and severity of past wildfires in a volunteer fire department's jurisdiction;  

(B) the potential for loss or damage to property resulting from future wildfires in the department's jurisdiction;  and

(C) the department's need for emergency assistance under Section 614.103(a-1);  and

(2) establish a procedure for reporting and processing requests for money from the fund.

(c-1) In determining criteria and qualifications for the distribution of money under Subsection (c), the director shall consider the state's most recent Southern Wildfire Risk Assessment issued by the Southern Group of State Foresters and other applicable information.

(c-2) The service may designate a portion of the fund to be used to assist volunteer fire departments in meeting cost share requirements for federal grants for which the departments qualify.  The director shall determine a set of needs-based criteria for determining a department's eligibility to apply for a grant under this subsection.  The criteria must include:

(1) the size of the department;

(2) the department's annual budget and source of revenue;  and

(3) the amount by which the department would benefit from the grant.

(d) A volunteer fire department may not be denied assistance from the fund solely because the department receives funds from a political subdivision.

(e) The director shall prepare an annual written report on the activity, status, and effectiveness of the fund and shall submit the report to the lieutenant governor and the speaker of the house of representatives before November 1 of each year.

(f) Any assistance or benefits provided under this subchapter to a volunteer fire department or a firefighter who is a member of a volunteer fire department may not be considered compensation, and a firefighter receiving assistance under this subchapter may not be considered to be in the paid service of any governing body.

(g) Administration costs associated with the program during a state fiscal year may not exceed seven percent of the total revenue collected from the assessment under Article 5.102, Insurance Code, during the previous fiscal year.

(h) Except as otherwise provided by this subsection, at least 10 percent of appropriations for a state fiscal year from the fund for the purpose of providing assistance to volunteer fire departments under the program is allocated for providing emergency assistance under Section 614.103(a-1).  If the amount of assistance requested under Section 614.103(a-1) in a state fiscal year is less than the amount allocated under this subsection, the remaining amount may be used for other types of requests for assistance.

Cite this article: - Texas Government Code - GOV'T § 614.102. Administration of Program - last updated April 14, 2021 |

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