Town Council Move Forward With Public Safety Articles

By Alex Malm

The Town Council and Budget Committee discussed two potential public safety warrant articles during the Dec. 4 school board meeting.
It was previously explained by Fire Chief, Bo Butler, and his leadership team that they were looking to hire an additional four firefighters in order to help with medical responses.
He explained during the previous meeting that if they were to get four more firefighters they would then be able to have a paramedic on all of their fire engines, along with a reserve paramedic on what’s known as a “fly car” which would essentially provide a paramedic assigned to a SUV type vehicle and would be able to go to calls as needed.
Butler noted previously they have over 8,000 seniors in the community, and with it comes more calls, and more severe calls, which makes paramedic resources even more valuable.
Finance Director, Justin Campo, presented two different options, one being that they hired them on July 1, for a full year, or if they made the warrant article so they are hired on Jan. 1 instead for a half a year, in the first year.
Without overtime, it would cost about $351,000 for a half year, and with the average overtime spent per year, it would be about $422,000 for a half, for a tax rate increase of about 6.9 cents.
For a full year with overtime, it would cost about $465,000 for a 7.6 cent tax rate impact, and with average overtime, it would cost about $559,000, a 9.2 cent increase. Campo noted they would all include family plans and other benefits.
When the idea was first introduced earlier this year, Town Council Chair, John Farrell, said the question is “can our community support that from a tax standpoint.”
It was decided to move forward with having a warrant article drafted that would call for all four firefighters at once for a total of $495,000. Farrell noted that they wouldn’t be eligible for overtime for about a half year anyways due to their training.
The Town Council and Budget Committee also agreed to move forward with having an additional prosecutor position warrant article drafted, which would cost taxpayers approximately $162,024. Campo noted that the cost would include a salary of $95,000 and would also include a family health insurance plan along with all other benefits offered.
Police Chief, Kim Bernard, previously noted that the request for an additional position is because of the caseload they are seeing for their one prosecutor because of the increase in the number of people being arrested, along with the complexity of different cases.
No decisions were made during the meeting about whether or not the Town Council or Budget Committee would be supporting the warrant articles or not.

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