Letter to the Editor | Support grant to add firefighters

Letter to the Editor | Support grant to add firefighters

We have heard the Danville mayor discuss how the fire department's overtime and pension debt is placing a huge financial burden on the city. The mayor claims that reducing the number of firefighters will help the financial stresses on the city.

The fire department numbers have been reduced during his tenure from 62 to a current low number of 39. Minimum manning of personnel on shift has reduced from 15 to 12.

Now, the mayor complains about the overtime the fire department generates.

With the award of a $1,143,086 federal grant, the city will be allowed to hire six firefighters and, using the city's figures, is expected to save in excess of $200,000 annually over the three-year grant.

At the end of the grant, if the city opts to not retain the firefighters, the city has zero obligations to do so and is allowed to keep the $112,000 that the grant placed as their pension contributions.

The additional firefighters would boost manning, which would create a safer environment for both the firefighters, as well as the citizens.

The mayor and aldermen challenged the fire department to find a solution to address the city's financial concerns. Your local firefighters stepped up and applied for the grant.

Now, it's up to our leaders to do their part and vote yes.

Call your alderman and ask them to support the Safer Grant.

TOM PRUITT

retired assistant chief

Danville Fire Department

Danville