The Ferron City Council met virtually for a meeting on Thursday evening. At this meeting, various departments within the city were discussed at length. One such department is the city’s fire department.
The first topic was the possibility of paying the fire department’s clothing allowance and how to handle the clothing allowance or certification incentives going forward. Mayor Adele Justice spoke on an Emery County Fire District meeting that she plans to attend at the beginning of next week.
In the last meeting with the other Emery County mayors and commissioners, the fire departments throughout the county were discussed as they are facing similar issues. There will be a meeting again in December to decide whether to have the fire departments ran like the current EMTs. This would not change a lot for Ferron other than the fact that an individual on the county level would bill insurance and there may be more incentive for pay.
Mayor Justice informed the council that they would know in early December whether that will move forward or not. However, she stated that even if it does, the town will still need a fire department, prompting a few topics to discuss.
The mayor stated that each council member has the firefighter attendance records or has viewed them. In the previous meeting, the clothing allowance had been discussed with the assurance that Mayor Justice has no intention of taking that away. Since that time, discussions have been had on whether the town should pay out the full clothing allowance this year.
The council entered discussion on this, with the attendance and lack thereof from some members being a topic, as well as what months the allowance entails. One council member proposed moving forward with the payout with the suggestion that if the department does not go to the county, a write in of by-laws or a contract could be created. This idea was then approved by the remainder of the council.
Mayor Justice then spoke of the desire of the county to have every firefighter trained to a level of Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2. The mayor stated that she believes that they do not have that certification within their department currently. A discussion of possible incentives when a firefighter reaches that status was discussed with the mayor explaining that it takes six to eight weeks of weekend trainings.
She continued by explaining that she would still like to give the department the $15 for the two meetings per month and then could give them a possible discount of their utility water bill. Mayor Justice also explained that the county will pay the incentive if they make the decision to take on the fire departments.
The topic of background checks, which was recommended by the county, as well as the appointment of an interim chief while they are waiting to recruit new members was also discussed by the council. Mayor Justice stated that they do have enough members in the department to run a skeleton crew for emergencies while the other towns would pitch in and help out.
“We really need to come up with a push to try and recruit some members,” Mayor Justice stated.
The council members agreed on creating a set criteria, including background checks in the policy and working on trainings for firefighters.