Chelsea Area Fire Authority 2012 budget includes new aerial truck, firefighter raises
The Chelsea Area Fire Authority board has approved a flat-line operational budget of about $1.33 million for 2012 that includes plans to purchase a new aerial ladder truck.
“Actually, it’s a reduction of 1.3 percent,” Fire Chief Jim Payeur said.
The 2011 operating budget was $1,343,723 and the approved 2012 operating budget is $1,326,826.
Payeur said the department was able to “control costs because with a 24-7 staff we know who is going on calls,” Payeur said. And because of higher deductibles, health care costs were kept “flat” he added.
“We are holding the line in these tough economic times,” said newly elected board president Rod Anderson, who is also a Chelsea city council member.
CAFA operations are paid for through a 1.8-mill tax levy that was approved by the voters in the member municipalities of Sylvan, Lima and Lyndon townships and the City of Chelsea. It will be up for renewal in 2013.
The one large planned expenditure is the replacement of a 35-year-old aerial truck as an estimated cost of $700,000, which will be paid for through $150,000 from CAFA’s truck fund as well as a 15-year financing plan with annual payments of $48,000.
The new aerial ladder will be a minimum of 100 feet, have a water tank and pump, and carry the fire hose tools. The Jiffy Mix silos are more than 100 feet tall, Payeur said, and when there was an incident several years ago at one of the silos, an aerial from Pittsfield Township was used to rescue two people who were stranded while painting the silos.
Payeur said the two key things the board wanted to accomplish were to renovate the fire station — a job that is close to completion — and to replace the ladder truck, which benefits everyone in the surrounding communities, especially with the tall, newer construction. “It helps everyone’s insurance costs,” Payeur said.
Plus, with firefighters on duty round-the-clock, they are able to do a lot of building maintenance and go out into the community to provide more community education than five years ago, Payeur said.
Firefighters will get an increase in pay to $11.50 per hour, or a salary of $34,385 per year. Currently, they are receiving $10.31 per hour, or $32,432.92 per year.
In addition, there are plans to promote three firefighters to lieutenants. The pay rate for lieutenant is $13.40 per hour, while captains make $16.40. In total, the personnel budget is about $936,000.
Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for AnnArbor.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Chelsea stories, visit our Chelsea page.