Volunteer Company Assistance Fund Committee
Application period is OPEN through 09 July 2017
NOTE: All companies applying for a loan and/or grant MUST have a representative attend the VCAF Committee meeting and MSFA Executive Committee meeting. Companies that fail to attend either meeting will be disqualified and the company will have to reapply during the next application open period.
Does your company have a need to borrow money to modernize firefighting equipment or the station?
Well, the Maryland State Volunteer Firemen's Association's (MSFA) Volunteer Company Assistance Fund (VCAF) Program is your answer. The VCAF program is your company's most affordable way to purchase, replace, or improve equipment and/or facilities. And your VCAF Representative will meet with, and mentor your company representatives through the entire process.
Your company must have the following requirements met before starting a VCAF loan and/or grant application:
Have MSFA dues paid in full and be a MSFA Member Company in Good Standing
Have a current MSFA Statistical Report on file
Have a current Articles of Incorporation on file, in good standings with the State of Maryland (no action - MD Military Department will obtain a copy of the certificate for you), and
Have documentation that the company has made a good faith effort to obtain money from its local government; any source of local government funding and Senator Amoss (508) funds.
What is the purpose of the VCAF program?
The purpose of the Volunteer Company Assistance Fund is to ensure adequate fire protection and rescue services in the State of Maryland.
Who administers the VCAF program?
The Fund is jointly administered by the MSFA and the Maryland Military Department (MMD). The MSFA's VCAF committee reviews and recommends applications, the MSFA Executive committee approves applications for advancement to the Maryland Board of Public Works (Governor, Treasurer and Comptroller) for final approval. The MMD provides all financial services to include settling loan and grants, and issuing checks.
What Maryland Code provides governance for the VCAF program?
PUBLIC SAFETY TITLE 8 - FIRE AND RESCUE FUNDS, Subtitle 2 - Volunteer Company Assistance Fund
VCAF loans and grants Can Only Be Used for purchasing, replacing, or improving:
Equipment, including elevated equipment, pumpers, tankers, ladder trucks, ambulances, rescue vehicles, or other large equipment used for firefighting and emergency services;
Protective equipment, including helmets, turnout coats and pants, boots, eye-shields, gloves, and self-contained respiratory protection units;
Any other equipment necessary to carry out the ordinary functions of supporting firefighting and rescue activities; or
Facilities used to house firefighting equipment, ambulances, and rescue vehicles – new and/or renovated facilities must include:
- A heated station of adequate size and construction for the housing of equipment
- A suitable means of receiving an alarm of fire and alerting company membership
- Meet all requirements and codes of the Federal, State and local jurisdiction, including the local firemen's association standards
- Must have sprinkler system in all new facilities and if practical, in renovated facilities
VCAF Loans and Grants Cannot Be Used for:
Purchasing utility vehicles, chief vehicles or other vehicles of similar nature
Construction of any facility that will be used primarily for fund raising activities
Acquisition of land or payments for land
Fees for designing, planning, or preparing of an application or any other cost not directly attributable to the facility construction, or
To refinance an existing debt or other obligation of a volunteer company; or be spent to replace or repair eligible items to the extent that insurance proceeds are available for those purposes.
- Three competitive bids must be submitted with your company's application. If your company is unable to obtain three competitive bids, they must explain in writing as why the bids were unattainable. Also if your company plans to accept a bid other than the lowest bid, the application narrative must include written justification as to why the company has selected the higher priced proposal. The justification should include, but is not limited to, the vendor's record of past performance, the vendor's quality record, positive aspects of vendor integrity, the financial and technical resources of the vendor, and whether a responsive bid was provided. The justification is a tool for the MSFA to make a financial determination and reserves the right to base a loan and/or grant award on a lower proposal.
- Loan and grant funds cannot be issued to the company until the equipment is delivered or the facility is complete and the use and occupancy permit is issued. Your company must plan for this and your VCAF representative can help you synchronize the settlement process with equipment delivery or project completion. The Marylany Military Department does not current allow construction progress payments.
New Equipment financing is available for up to 75% of the purchase price. Payback terms are as follows:
- Ladder Trucks not to exceed 20 years
- Rescue Squads not to exceed 20 years
- Engines not to exceed 15 years.
- Tankers not to exceed 15 years.
- Ambulances not to exceed 7 years.
- Special Units, Flood Lights, Air Units and Mini Squad not to exceed 7 years.
- Brush Units not to exceed 5 years.
- Rescue Tools, SCBA, Turn Out Gear not to exceed 5 years
Used Equipment financing and payback terms, in general, follow limits set for new equipment. However, the MSFA reserves the right to adjust the amount of financing and payback term on a case by case basis.
Equipment Rehab financing is available provided the rehab extends the unit’s useful service life. Percentage of financing will be determined by the MSFA on a case by case basis. The payback term for equipment rehab is up to 5 years.
Non-qualifying Equipment includes utilities vehicles, chief vehicles and other vehicles of similar nature.
Facility financing is available for purchasing, replacing or improving facilities that are used to house firefighting equipment, ambulances, and rescue vehicles. Facility loan terms are as follows:
- Financing is available for up to 75% of the project cost, but shall not exceed $2.5M
- Payback term for a Facility loan is up to 30 years
Grants are reserved for companies that have experienced a unique financial situation, which includes:
- an act of God or other unforeseen event that substantially impairs the ability of the volunteer company to provide adequate and safe service; or
- the volunteer company is unable to maintain the minimum level of performance for adequate and safe service established by standards of the Association because of a demonstrated lack of financial resources
The MSFA allocates $500k per fiscal year for grant awards. This annual funding serves the entire MSFA company membership and awards are extremely limited.
Should your company qualify for a MSFA VCAF grant, the following conditions apply:
- Equipment grants shall not exceed 70% of the total purchase price of the equipment, and shall be capped at a maximum award value of $500k
- Facility grants shall not exceed 50% of the total project price, and shall be capped at a maximum award value of $500k
Move to Guidelines
Michael J. Farlow, Esquire
Office of the Attorney
VCAF Committee Members
Richard DeVore (2018)
Craig Harman (2018)
Joe Antoszewski (2016)
John O. Gatton, Sr. (2016)
Peter Lott (2017)
Eugene Curfman (2016)
David L. McQuay (2018)
Zachary Coyle (2018)
Darren Long (2017)
Joe Robison, PP (2017)
Donald Ford (2018)
Tim Ganley (2018)
(year) denotes end of term