Ann Arbor Adds Firefighters, Orders Truck

The Ann Arbor city council has authorized a revision to its FY 2013 budget that will allow for staffing of three additional firefighters for the next two years, bringing the budgeted staffing level for firefighters from 82 to 85. The positions will be funded with a $642,294 federal grant through the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), which was announced earlier this year on May 30, 2012. The vote to accept the grant and amend the budget was taken at the council’s Aug. 9 meeting.

According to fire chief Chuck Hubbard, the city currently has three vacancies, or 79 firefighters on staff.

The $321,000 from the SAFER grant for each of the next two years will be allocated for three firefighter positions, which the city estimates will cost $255,000 (at $85,000 per position). The remaining $66,000 per year will be spent on other unspecified fire services needs, according to the staff memo accompanying the resolution – including overtime and fleet expenses. Hiring a fourth firefighter would require using $19,000 of fund balance, according to the memo.

The budget amendment was anticipated based on the city council’s budget deliberations and final FY 2013 budget resolution earlier this year on May 22, 2012, which directed the city administrator to submit a proposal to amend the budget and hire additional firefighters if the SAFER grant were to be awarded.

At the same Aug. 9 meeting, the council also authorized $1,043,685 from its fleet fund to purchase a new 2013 Sutphen model SPH100 mid-mount aerial platform – a “tower truck.” The department currently has two aerial trucks. The new purchase replaces a 1999 Emergency One brand 100-foot ladder truck – but it will be kept as a “reserve” aerial truck in the department. The department also has a 1996 Emergency One brand 100-foot aerial truck, which will be kept as a secondary aerial truck. Whichever Emergency One aerial truck first starts to have maintenance and repair costs that exceed its value will be retired from service – and the other truck will remain as a reserve.

The new truck is expected to arrive in 10-12 months.

This brief was filed from the city council’s chambers on the second floor of city hall, located at 301 E. Huron. A more detailed report will follow: [link]