SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. (WWLP) – Controversy Wednesday night involving the budget for the District 1 South Hadley Fire Department, after a small group of taxpayers voted to reject funding salaries.

Wednesday night that budget was approved to fund District 1, but before that vote, we heard concerns from both sides of this issue, “I’ve been doing this for 32 years and I have never heard of the fire department being unfunded,” South Hadley Fire Chief, Robert Authier told 22News.

The majority of District 1 residents voted to approve appropriating a total of $2.7 million to fund the personnel services account for the fire department. But before that vote, concerns were raised about transparency when it comes to numbers within the budget, as well as a proposed amendment changing the districts health insurance.

Back in April, residents in District 1 originally voted no on the budget during their annual meeting, which ultimately stripped funding for wages for firefighters and paramedics. Top fire officials also at the meeting, urging voters of what would be at stake to not pass this funding.

Richard MacKinnon, President of Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts told 22News, “It’s a disaster for public safety here in South Hadley, what’s at stake is whether they are going to have fire, ems protection, and other emergency response for incidents that they respond to every day and every night.”

Again, the budget was approved Wednesday night, and ways to avoid something like this from happening again was also discussed.