by Jennifer Sierra
At a special meeting in Bellevue, Kentucky on Monday evening, the Bellevue Dayton Fire Board voted to allow the Bellevue Dayton Fire Department to go forward with applying for a Safer Grant which would allow the fire department to get funding to pay for 3 new firefighters. The grant pays the salaries for the new personnel for 2 years then the cities would have to take over the salaries. Chief Auteri said that after 4 years, if the cities didn’t find they could afford or need the new firefighters, they could lay them off without penalty. “I’m not asking because I want this. This is what you are going to need. We are playing catch up”, he added.
The Fire Board also voted to go to their respective city councils and ask for the money to buy 2 new defibrillators and renovate the restrooms within the fire house to accommodate the new employees. Chief Auteri’s estimate was $68,000 for the 2 defibrillators. He received 2 rough estimates for the bathroom renovations from $50,000 on the low end to $70,000 on the high end for 3 toilets and urinals, 3 showers and 3 sinks. He is getting additional estimates. Bellevue Board Member Matt Olliges estimated the cities will have to pay $120,000 for the combined bathroom renovations and the new equipment not including the salaries of the new fire personnel. He mentioned they would have to keep in mind by the 3rd year after receiving the Safer Grant, each city would have to plan it into their budget to pay the for the personnel hired under the grant. He also noted the cities can take the 2 years to prepare for the influx of the population moving into Dayton and Bellevue, hopefully the cities will be prepared to pay for the salaries of the new hires. Dayton Board Member Jerry Gifford said “We need to be able to pay the way we stand now, not hope we will be there in a few years.” Gifford also expressed interest in asking the police department to fund part of the renovation. “Maybe there is a grant the police can get.”
Chief Auteri said that after speaking with the Dayton City Manger, they were estimating that 350 new families would be moving in over the next several years. Auteri said the fire department can’t keep up the calls now, much less with that growth in population. They have more runs than other fire departments with less population in the area. He said that they have a good chance of getting the grant because they aren’t compliant with recommended amount of personnel per truck on runs. They are supposed to have 4 per engine but currently run 3 sometimes 2 according to Chief Auteri.
Dayton will be the first city to run this by their council. The Dayton, Kentucky city council meeting is Tuesday night. Will they or won’t they approve the $60,000 budget hit this year to start granting the fire department’s wish list? Can they afford it? What Dayton determines at their council meeting will determine how this will turn out. Bellevue can’t pay for this alone.
Watch meeting here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uO5jlJLRUP8&feature=youtu.be