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Fire call reimbursements being weighed
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Firefighters with the Walthourville Volunteer Fire Department could be in store for a raise.
The Walthourville City Council decided to look into giving the volunteer staff a pay increase during its meeting Thursday night when Councilwoman Luciria Lovette brought up the issue in her report to the council.
Fire crewmembers currently receive $10 for each emergency call they respond to with a maximum of 25 calls per quarter.
But between rising gas prices hurting their pockets and an increase in the number of calls, Lovette said many volunteers are being faced with tough choices as they near the response limit.
"If each firefighter is close or has reached 25 calls before the end of the quarter then they question whether or not to go that 26th call," Lovette said, adding that such decisions could cause "a decrease in manpower that we don't need."
Noting the staff's importance to the community and the fact that firefighters have not gotten raises in at least six years, Lovette recommended and the council agreed to look into giving the volunteers a raise.
Councilmembers did not specify when they would decide the matter, but Lovette said "if we can't do anything now...we need to make sure we put it in for the next budget hearing with the increase for gas."
Walthourville's current budget ends Dec. 31. Work on the next budget, fiscal year 2009, is scheduled to begin in October.
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