A discussion on how to manage the Key Peninsula Fire Department 2015 budget will be opened to the public Tuesday at 4 p.m. at the Key Center station, including how to arrest rising overtime costs.
In his weekly Facebook post Saturday night, Chief Guy Allen said the fire department is seeking the public’s guidance to find out what services is most important to them.
“These are public meetings and we look forward to seeing you there,” he said.
These period of public comment will help guide the Key Peninsula Fire Department Board of Commissioners make their final decisions on next year’s budget. The board will meet right after the public hearing.
According to Allen overtime is where they see a way to cut costs.
“In order to reduce costs we have made recent changes in our staffing model to reduce overtime expenses,” he said.
Reductions in overtime mean the fire department will no longer call in paramedics to replace those who call in sick — just to maintain their regular staffing level of two paramedics each day. A paramedic is currently assigned to each of the Home and Wauna stations every day, according to the fire department. With this plan, when a paramedic gets ill, an Emergency Medical Technician is left to man the station.
“There will be at least one medic (in Home and Wauna) each day as a minimum,” he said, “but we simply cannot sustain the funding necessary to mandate” calling in another paramedic on overtime in case of illness.
They are looking at their overtime budget, Allen said, because “we budgeted just under $80,000 for overtime this year (2014) and we are on track to spend about $160,000.”
The Chief said the the fire department cannot overspend next year, but proposes an additional $15,000 in overtime pay to the budget.
“I am proposing $95,000 in (overtime) for 2015,” he said, “and we need to monitor this very closely throughout the year and consider making other changes to operate within that.”
Allen said the fire department will continue to staff both Home and Wauna stations — and, when there are more than 7 firefighters and paramedics a shift, a crew will also be assigned to the Wright-Bliss Road station.
“You will still have crews assigned to those stations and we will request mutual aid when necessary to provide advanced care,” he added.
Allen also said it was another busy week for Key Peninsula firefighters with 27 incidents, including a rollover crash on State Route 302 near Creviston Drive.
“We still seem to be having an increased number of vehicle collisions with 3 more this week,” he wrote on Facebook.
Lightning and Thunder this Morning; Lazy, Breezy Saturday in Longbranch
The rain came down hard overnight and we woke up to rumbling thunder and lightning on a wet and dark Drayton’s Passage.
The wind the other day wrapped our bamboo wind chimes around the water spout and fire needles are yet again strewn across the yard. The lightning continue to startle the goofy golden doodle.
We will see more showers today and even more wind, according to the National Weather Service. High will hover around the 40s and we could see between a quarter and half of an inch of rain.
Saturday was a lazy day in our homestead. My lovely bride got back to knitting, the goofy golden doodle napped and I watched college football. Winter weekends in our neck of the woods are a wonderful exercise in wistful reposed.
“It has been such a long time since I have done anything like this,” my lovely bride said of knitting an infinity scarf for her daughter. “I suppose if I could sit down for four hours and knit that I could get this done.”
Maddee had no comment on her nap.
“Go Ducks,” I said as Oregon’s high octane offense trampled a hapless Colorado defense. Ducks 44, Buffaloes 10.
If you’re looking for a good meal Down Key, stop by the Key Peninsula Community Services dining hall at 3 p.m. today. Oliver Coldeen and his army of volunteers serve delectable hot food on just about every Sunday.
Good morning Longbranch.