By LARISSA COPELAND
The city of Yukon has been approved for a grant that would add three firefighters to the city’s crews.
In a work session prior to Tuesday’s council meeting, City Manager Jim Crosby said the city received notice that it had been approved for the grant, which would accommodate the salaries of three firefighters over the next three years.
“It would help cut back on overtime,” Crosby said.
Initially, Crosby said, it was believed that the grant would pay 100% of the new staff’s salaries over the course of three years. However, the cost will fluctuate from fiscal year to fiscal year, with the first fiscal year providing about $18,000 in grant funding.
The grant would provide about $55,000 in funding during the second fiscal year, around $66,000 the third fiscal year and around $55,000 the fourth fiscal year.
Because the city’s fiscal year differs from the grant’s, the period covered would make up four fiscal years.
The city would be responsible for whatever remainder needed to be paid, Crosby said.
Those funds would be paid through the city’s Public Employee Sales Tax Fund.
Officials with Yukon Fire Department attended the meeting to voice their support for the grant’s acceptance.
“This would help with staffing tremendously,” said Fire Chief Shawn Vogt.
Three additional firefighters would mean adding one person per shift, Vogt added. Each shift has a minimum staffing requirement of nine people, which means in cases where firefighters are sick or attending training, members of other shifts need to be called in to work.
Vogt noted that about 85% of calls the department receives are medical emergencies.
“Our call volume’s been way up,” he said.
Crosby said the city is currently working with the fire union and plans on moving ahead with the grant. He expects to meet with the union this month and hopes the funds could be approved by the end of the month. Acceptance of the grant would then take place the first Tuesday in November.