by Jennifer Sierra
Chief Auteri laid out a proposal for his “wish list” for the Bellevue Dayton Fire Board to take to their respective city councils and request funding for.
1) New monitors and defibrillators that are 7 years old. The software for this equipment can’t be updated any longer, making this equipment obsolete. The price on replacing this equipment is $73,392.40.
2) Auteri stated that with all of the new riverfront development and new residents coming in, there would be a need for more fire personnel. The price for 6 new firefighters over the next 5 years is about $67,000.00 per employee coming out to a total cost of over $400,000.00 for 6 new employees. Chief Auteri said they were planning on applying for the 2015 Safer Grant which would help pay for the salaries of the new employees over a three year period. Once the grant is finished, the cities would have to maintain the salaries and keep the people it hired under the grant.
3) The fire department currently needs new and better bathrooms for their employees. The employees have to wait their turn to use the facilities because the firehouse was built to accommodate 2 firefighters per 24-hour shift. Chief Auteri had not obtained estimates for the bathroom remodel costs so Bellevue City Council Member and Fire Board Member, Matt Olliges suggested that it would probably be around $75,000.00.
4) Auteri also stated the need for a new and smaller fire truck. The one they currently have is too large to get through the tight city streets and it makes it difficult for them to get to many properties. The ladder truck they currently own is 21 years old. While the truck still runs, Auteri pointed out that at some point they will not be able to get replacement parts, such as brakes, for that model of vehicle.
Chief Auteri’s plan had no hard numbers so Fire Board Member, Matt Olliges did his own “quick math” which came up to about $2.5 million. Steve Guidugli, the Chair of the Fire Board and a Bellevue City Council member said they can’t go back to their respective city councils and ask for this kind of money. “We need to take this in bite-sized amounts,” Olliges stated and requested they get harder numbers including a rainy day fund and come back to the board with that in 2 weeks. Steve Guidugli wanted comparisons to what other regional departments have in personnel and citizen ratios as well as equipment.
Auteri said, “We are in this problem because we haven’t gotten our requests over the last several years.”
Olliges asked what the development schedule was going to be in Dayton and after a quick discussion of the riverfront development with Dayton Council Members Ben Baker and Gerry Gifford, he concluded that it would be several years before any significant change in the Dayton population would happen. Olliges went on to say that he thought the need for additional personnel was inflated and suggested they hire 2 or 3 new people instead of the requested 6. Union President, Brian Boyers, stood up to plead with the Board that if they consider any of the requests, it was to get the funding for manpower. “Go to your cities and beg for the money. We will come to the council meetings and help however we can. We have never had a fire chief that was willing to stick his neck out for us like Chief Auteri has. We have never had a 5 year plan before.”
In the end the Fire Board decided to reconvene for a special public meeting to go over the specific numbers that Chief Auteri is supposed to provide. The next Fire Board meeting will take place at the Callahan Center on March 2nd at 6:00 PM.
The sitting Fire Board attorney, Steve Martin, spoke about the loss of Dayton City Attorney, Jack Fischer earlier this week. “Jack Fischer was a good fellow attorney and human being. We were classmates and I know he will be missed among our community. I am sure he will be missed in Dayton. You might be able to find a replacement attorney for the city but you will never find another Jack Fischer.”
Dayton City Council Member, Ben Baker recognized 12-year sitting Fire Board member, Jeanne Cole for her devotion and work on the fire board. Jeanne resigned form the board in November 2014.
Watch entire meeting here: http://youtu.be/BLfcFfR4cJ4