Fire Department funding will now be job one for officials

City officials have their work cut out for them this year.
They will have the challenge of finding a way to fund the Fire Department now that it appears funding from the federally-funded SAFER grant will run out in January of 2019.
For the past few years the grant has paid for the salaries of 12 firefighter positions, totaling about $3 million a year. That was a great boost to the city when it was in a financial emergency.
But now the harsh reality of finding a way to keep the department in operation is ahead of us.
Fire Chief Danny Hagen is proposing to link up with Eastpointe and Hazel Park who have a public safety authority. Basically, this would be an additional tax to property owners.
That is not going to be an easy move. Voters in Hamtramck as well as Eastpointe and Hazel Park would all have to agree on the matter.
There are other options out there that have been discussed. One would be to outsource the service to Detroit. Or, keep just a core group of full-timers and fill out the rest of the department with part-timers, who would be paid substantially less and likely have to work without benefits.
Or, city officials might work out another solution. The point is, city officials have to start the discussion now and not wait until the last minute.
Some of these proposals are going to be unpopular with the public. Firefighters, no doubt, will present considerable opposition to any significant changeup in the department.
This is not going to be an easy discussion or a popular one, but it’s the job elected officials signed on to do.

7 Responses to Fire Department funding will now be job one for officials

  1. Richard

    July 9, 2018 at 5:27 pm

    3 million a year for 12 employees? So by that math these firefighters are making 250k a year. I think your numbers are grossly off. More fake news from the Hamtramck review.

  2. Richard

    July 9, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    If you want real news, the ENTIRE fire department yearly salary budget is 1.7 million dollars a year.

  3. csercombe

    July 10, 2018 at 2:30 pm

    there is more than salaries that go toward maintaining a fire department.

  4. Richard

    July 10, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Your article specifically states “the grant has paid for the salaries of 12 firefighter positions, totaling about $3 million a year.”…….I just shake my head at the thought process at the Hamtramck review. Next you or John Ulaj will compare Hamtramck to something stupid like Troy.

  5. csercombe

    July 11, 2018 at 2:07 pm

    Yes, there does need to be a clarification.
    So here is the breakdown for the department:

    Annual budget for Firefighters salary – $1,509,750.00 (does not include Chief)

    Annual budget for Fire chief salary – 91,000.00

    Annual budget for Firefighters benefits – 3,256,850 (department including Chief)

    Annual budget for Fire Dept not salaries – $118,000.00

    the last SAFER grant was in 2016 and that was for $2.3 million. It runs out in January 2019.
    Sorry for the confusion.
    cs

  6. guest

    July 14, 2018 at 1:54 am

    Double their salaries and get rid of their benefits. A win win situation.

  7. Richard

    July 14, 2018 at 11:25 pm

    More misleading information…. The entire department budget is about 3.2 million dollars (3,374,000 actually) not “annual budget for firefighter benefits”. A city with an operating budget of 16.6 million dollars can easily afford 3.2 million a year for a quality fire department. They certainly have no qualms about paying 3.9 million a year for the police department. When you consider that police and fire are always a city’s two largest expenses, I’d say the city is too busy spending money on non-essential things. I’m really curious to know what the city thinks it “can afford to pay” for a fire department.

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