Getting grant money is fine as long as its not abused . Biggest expense in any dept. is equipment. Our town turned all the responsibility and equipment over to the county which formed a county wide fire district in 1998. We started with a 30x40 3 bay station built back in the 70's to a modern 50x50 2 bay( 4 doors drive thru ) station built in 2003 and we just added a 10x60 addition bay( 2 door drive thru) this year. Since 1998 our volunteer station has grown substantially from a single 72 American LaFrance pumper and brush truck ( 80 dodge w/ 225 gal skid), 1000 gal tanker( 75 ford F700) to 2 pumpers( 1972 American LaFrance and 1999 Peirce), a 2500 gal tanker( 2007 KMC), brush truck( 2002 Chevy 4x4 3500w/400gal skid), Med Duty Equipment truck (2002 GMC W5500 w/ Hurst extraction eq : cutter, spreader, ram, and power unit w/ 2 tool connections. 9500wt Gen, porta lights, 6000psi Cascade system and various other items), a Chiefs truck ( 2002 4x4 3500 chevy w/ 10,000lbs winch) . We also just acquired 17 new sets of Turn out gear ( head to toe), 6 new Scott Air paks, 12 Scott upgraded paks, and a 6000 psi Compressor/ breathing air refill unit for our station. We also just upgraded 14 mobile radios to 800mkz (@ $3500 each) . Some of our equipment upgrades are due to grants, but the majority is from taxes accessed county wide. Our fire district has operated on the same millage rate for the past 14yrs, and we just asked for the 1st increase in millage since the county took over in 1998 and that was due to fuel cost and the match money required when equipment grants are acquired. I've been in the fire service since 2001. I've been asked "why do I do it" and I reply, " someone has to or we would be in a world of **** when bad things happen" .