WILMINGTON, MA — Town Manager Jeff Hull recently announced he would like to include the addition of four new firefighter positions in next fiscal year’s budget.
“For more than a year, the Fire Department has consistently been short staffed due to long term work injury, personal injury, retirements or military deployments,” explained Hull in his annual budget message. “Since staffing levels cannot be reduced below current levels without impacting service, each absence has been filled at the overtime rate. Reducing overtime costs and adjusting the staffing levels to meet the current service demands cannot be completed in one fiscal year. However, adding four firefighter privates will begin to address these issues.”
Hull stressed that the Fire Department hasn’t received any staffing increases since 2009, while their workload has risen dramatically.
“The numbers of runs reported in 2009 totaled 3,364. This statistic reflects ambulance runs, responses to fire radio boxes, and fire responses,” revealed Hull. “For the most current reporting period, 2018, the Fire Department reported 4,192 runs, an increase of 24.6% over that nine-year period.”
The cost for the additional four fire personnel is projected to cost $257,628.
In response to a question from Selectman Ed Loud, Hull acknowledged more hires may be budgeted in future years. Fire Chief Joe McMahon and Deputy Chief Joe McMahon previously came in front of Selectmen and Finance Committee requesting the addition of 8 firefighter positions.
“I’m suggesting there may be additional staff increases to come, but for Fiscal Year 2020, four is what we can manage,” said Hull.
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