The Leitchfield City Council on Monday, Nov. 2 approved an increase in the Leitchfield Fire Department’s budget, as well as a policy change regarding volunteer firefighters’ pay.
Leitchfield Fire Chief Tim Duvall and City Finance Officer Erin Embry addressed the City Council during its regular meeting on Monday night regarding the policy change.
According to Embry, prior to the policy change, the Leitchfield Fire Department (LFD) budgeted approximately $75,000 annually for volunteer firefighter pay.
The proposed increase, which was approved on Monday, increases that amount to $162,400 annually.
It also increases the LFD’s total annual budget from $550,000 to $638,000 to accommodate the raise in budgeted volunteer firefighter pay, Embry said.
“It’s a significant increase,” she said.
The additional $88,000 being added to the LFD’s annual budget will come from the City of Leitchfield’s general fund, according to Embry.
The policy change sets specific requirements for volunteer firefighters to receive their pay, which, for one volunteer, caps out at $4,000 per calendar year; however, the previously established volunteer positions that currently receive $100 per month for additional duties are entitled to a maximum of $5,200.
Volunteer firefighters will receive $500 per quarter, in addition to their run money, provided they meet a number of requirements, which are as follows:
Each Leitchfield volunteer firefighter will be required to complete 10 hours of training each quarter, either in house or at another approved state training site; provide state approved roster or yellow sheets; and attend 50 percent of meetings per quarter.
Volunteer firefighters who work second or third shifts and cannot make meetings will be given the opportunity to make them up by coming in to read the minutes, happenings, old/new business, and all other discussions. This must be done and supervised by the fire chief or another officer within the same week of the meeting date.
If volunteer firefighters do not meet the required training hours and/or do not attend 50 percent of the meetings, they will not receive their $500 for the quarter in discussion; however, volunteers will still receive their run money, regardless of whether they meet the aforementioned provisions.
The policy change also reduces the maximum number of Leitchfield firefighters from 49 to 40 and requires LFD members to make at least 25 percent of runs annually.
According to Duvall, the LFD currently has 40 members, and run response has increased recently with an average of 15 people per run.
The above policy change was approved by the LFD during its meeting two weeks ago, and the City Council voted to approve the policy change on Monday.
The change will be enacted immediately because the LFD currently has enough funding remaining in its budget to cover volunteers’ pay; however, the LFD’s annual budget will not be increased to $638,000 until the city’s budget is officially amended, which will likely occur in January or February, Embry said.
Until that time, the LFD will still not be able to exceed its current maximum budget of $550,000, according to Embry.
In other business:
*The City Council granted the LFD approval, pending it has the funding in its budget, to pursue subscribing to TheFireHorn, which provides a back-up to the fire department’s communications in the event that E-911 Dispatch goes down, among other services.
TheFireHorn’s annual subscription rate for a fire department of the LFD’s size is $900, and there will also be a one-time $250 fee to install the service’s radio bridge.
*Marty Higdon, who offered to sell the city one of his buildings near the Grayson County Fairgrounds to be used as the new Public Works maintenance facility, addressed the City Council regarding any questions they had about the building.
A committee, consisting of City Councilmembers William Dallas, Margaret Fey, and Harold Miller, recently toured the facility to determine whether they felt purchasing it would be a good investment; however, they did not have a recommendation at Monday’s meeting.
Thomason said the committee members will meet to further discuss whether to purchase the building, and if they decide to pursue it, the city will hire a contractor to visit the facility to determine what work would need to be done to make it suitable for Public Works to house its operations there.
*The City Council approved the second and final reading of a rezoning ordinance for 507 North Main St. and 102 Marion St. to be changed form R-2 to C-1.
*The City Council approved its audit engagement letter for the July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 fiscal year.
Embry said this year’s audit has the same terms and cost as last year’s.
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.