Proposal to hire 13 additional career employees would cost close to $700,000
By Sally Voth -- email@example.com
WOODSTOCK -- A proposal to hire 13 more fire and rescue staff would cost the county nearly $700,000 in fiscal 2013.
County Administrator Doug Walker has proposed a fiscal 2013 budget that is about $54 million, which is around $5.6 million above this year's spending plan. He has suggested an 8-cent real estate tax hike to come up with additional revenue.
Among the most expensive items proposed in the upcoming budget is adding 13 career staff to the Shenandoah County Department of Fire and Rescue at a cost of $691,215.
That is nine fewer employees than Fire and Rescue Chief Gary Yew had requested. The call for 22 additional employees is because of requests for extra help from the departments in New Market, Conicville, Orkney Springs and Toms Brook, he said on Monday.
New Market, which currently has two career emergency medical service providers, is looking for 24-hour-a-day help in fire coverage, according to Yew. Orkney Springs and Conicville wanted additional help staffing ambulances, and Toms Brook asked for more help with a fire engine.
"[Thirteen staffers are] certainly not what we proposed, but we're certainly [prepared] to work with what the Board of Supervisors approve," Yew said. "Should we receive the 13, we're not sure yet how we will deploy those folks. We're still discussing that."
He said he thought there would be six career staff working each 24-hour shift at New Market -- two for an ambulance and four on a fire engine -- which would bring the number of career staffers there to 18.
"That would just be bare bones," Yew said. "That doesn't build in much relief."
He said he expects shortages will lead to more over-time pay.
The Department of Fire and Rescue has 32 full-time and six part-time employees, Yew said. He said the salary and benefits for the full-time workers are costing about $1.9 million in fiscal 2012.
Budget Manager Garland Miller said the department's original 2012 budget is about $2.3 million.
The fire and rescue budget is scheduled to be discussed at a budget work session at 7 p.m. Thursday. The Sheriff's Office budget is also expected to be discussed then.
While Sheriff Timothy C. Carter had originally asked for four more workers, just one position -- a school resource officer -- is in the proposed budget. That position is expected to cost $51,028.
Carter said Monday that a staffing study is proposed. While the department has been working on its own staffing analysis, it's thought it might be better to have an outside agency conduct it, he said.