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Board OKs 2 percent wage increase for full-time firefighters

by Susan Bromley

November 06, 2013

Brandon Twp.- The township board has unanimously approved a 2 percent raise for full-time fire department personnel.

During their Nov. 4 meeting, the board also approved a 25-cent per hour increase for part-time firefighters.

Fire Chief David Kwapis noted that firefighters have not had a raise since 2008, while the cost of living has increased 9.1 percent in that time.

"They would be very appreciative of any raise at this point," said Kwapis in requesting the increase, which will equate to about a $1,000 increase to base salaries annually. "While property values have dropped, our calls have increased."

Last year, firefighters responded to more than 1,100 calls for service. As Kwapis spoke, he noted that firefighters were responding to three calls simultaneously at that moment in the township.

"We watch our spending as much as we can," he continued. "I think our employees are due a raise… I will put my staff up against any in the state. They do a great job."

Supervisor Kathy Thurman agreed.

"They do an outstanding job for our township and we are very grateful to have them," she said. "There comes a point when it is necessary to give pay increases and I think that is where we are."

The wage increases will be taken from the fire operating budget. During a joint meeting between the township board and Ortonville Village Council on Oct. 23, the 2014 fire operating budget was approved, with revenues and expenditures of $1.8 million. Kwapis is anticipating a carry forward balance of approximately $190,000.

The township fire department has 11 full-time firefighters and one full-time administrative assistant.

Although the township board approved the wage increases, they need to be approved by the village council in order to take effect. The village council's next meeting is Nov. 25.