Gift fund pays for ‘wish list’

There’s a fairly new set of pots and pans at the headquarters of the Wilton Fire Department, but they didn’t come from any town budget that taxpayers supported.
They came from the department’s gift fund, a little-known source of extra money for the needs of firefighters, supported by donations such as a $200 contribution announced at the Jan. 23 Board of Selectmen meeting.
The money is used for odds and ends, things like pots and pans that firefighters use at the station but would not be included in the annual budget.
“We buy stuff that’s not in the budget that the town would think is a frivolous purchase,” Chief Ronald Kanterman said. “Last year we replaced kitchenware. It’s stuff we wouldn’t necessarily use the taxpayer money for. We keep it in a separate account.”
The money is usually donated at the end of the year.
“If we touch the fund once a year it’s a lot,” Kanterman said. Each year, about six checks arrive as gifts, ranging from $50 to $200 each, Kanterman said.
The money goes to good use.
“The year before last, the guys needed a heavy-duty duffel bag to carry equipment like boots and coats and helmets, so we bought those,” Kanterman said.
“We look at something we might need without putting a burden on the taxpayer.”