by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
Possible Grant Acquired Fire & Rescue Vehicle Has Two Council Members Thinking About Possible Staffing Requirements

HUNTINGTON, WV (HNN) – Two council committees have recommended applying for a grant that will provide funds for a $450,000 new fire and rescue apparatus with extraction capabilities to the #10 station. There is no match, they City of Huntington does not have to add new hires to the general budget in three years.

However, both council members Jim Ritter and Frances Jackson have raised a question --- will this be a new or a replacement fire engine?

After listening to presentations on equipment deficiencies in the Huntington Fire Department, the inquiry may be ill timed. However, the reasoning is sound.

Both council members believe that terminology will be imperative in acceptance of the grant.

A replacement truck carries no intertwined responsibilities.

An additional truck , if new, could have hidden expenses. Both Jackson and Ritter want to know if the grant acquired vehicle would trigger hiring requirements contained in the city’s ‘on hold’ collective bargaining agreements.

Both believe that the purchase of a new truck requires hiring additional firefighters for staffing.

How many?

The two council members believe three firefighters per shift and two reserves. The total equals eleven, which is one more than the other grant brought forward by the department. It would add ten new firefighters to the city’s staff. The salaries and benefits for the first two years would be paid by the grant. The third year, though, the City of Huntington would have to come up with just over $500,000 to pay for the new hires.