The Hope Town Council and the Hope Volunteer Fire Department have not always been on the best of terms over the past few years.

But most of the candidates in next week's Town Council election see a new, positive relationship between the town and the current leadership of the fire department.

Town voters will be deciding between four candidates for the Town Council's two open seats. HSJ Online asked the candidates how they would change the town's funding for the fire department and if they thought the money was being handled correctly.

Democratic candidate Chelsea Warriner said she believes supporting fire department and that the current funding level seems appropriate “given that these men and women are putting their lives on the line for us and they are volunteers.”

“I think that our partnership with them is vital to the community,” Warriner said. “As far as the issues they had, let's say that some organizations will go through those times of struggle. I think you go through certain moments when untrustworthy people have access to things. I think unfortunately, they had to learn through experience, which happens.

“I think now they are doing what they probably feel is best as well... I think that they are doing what they need to do to get things straightened out and back in order. They seem to be proving that.”

Republican candidate Louis “Lou K” Kujawski said he is largely unfamiliar with the history of the disagreements between the fire department and council.

“I am going to plead ignorance, I don't know anything about it, so I don't have an opinion on how it should be changed,” Kujawski said.

Democratic Councilman Jerry Bragg says the Town Council now has a good relationship with the fire department.

“They have shown much improvement on how they handle things and go for things – going for grants,” Bragg said. “I think it is a good deal and a good relationship that we have started now.”

Republican Town Councilman Clyde Compton has been the most public council critic of the fire department during the recent disputes between the two groups. But he said that the town's money is being spent wisely now.

“I would tend to say that yes, I believe it has this year,” Compton said. “The past years that I have been on this council, absolutely not. Nobody seemed to know what was going on in that part of the situation. Not that they aren't good firefighters and emergency people, but the monetary part of it has always stunk and they have hid it from the council in the past. Which now, they are not.

“Right now, I made the motion to approve their contract for next year. I believe that if they continue on the path they are now, they will work well with the council.”