Grant would help pay for more firefighters

Published 6:08 am Friday, February 15, 2008

By Staff
After five years, city would cover all related expenses
Contributing Editor
Washington may add three new firefighters to its payroll later this year, if the city receives a SAFER grant that it is seeking.
The grant would provide the city with $295,622 to help cover the costs of hiring those firefighters.
The five-year grant, which would come from the federal Department of Homeland Security, would provide some of the funding for salaries for the additional firefighters. Those positions will be required to meet staffing needs related to the opening of the city’s second fire station later this year, according to fire officials.
The amount of the SAFER grant would decrease each year. In the fifth year of the grant, the city would cover all costs related to the three firefighters. In that fifth year, the city’s cost would be $159,889.
In the first year, the city’s cost would be $19,921, followed by a cost of $24,025 in the second year, a cost of $68,899 in the third year and a cost of $107,358 in the fourth year.
With its existing staff, the Washington Fire-Rescue-EMS-Inspections Department must have some of its personnel work overtime to cover for other personnel taking vacations, holidays or sick leave. Overtime pay, according to Jimmy Davis, chief of the department, would come to $467,183 over a five-year period. In the first year, overtime pay would come to $87,996, increasing each year until it reached $99,040 in the fifth year, according to Davis.
Those amounts do not include overtime pay for special assignment, emergency call-backs and training.
Should Washington be awarded the grant and choose to accept it, the city’s cost for the additional firefighters would be $371,092 during the five-year life of the SAFER grant.
Davis is optimistic the city will be awarded the grant.
For additional coverage of the council’s meeting, see future editions of the Daily News.