October 3, 2007
Increases sought for proposed fire budget
The Goffstown Fire Department
presented its 2008 proposed budget to the Board of Selectmen on Monday, Oct.
1, requesting a 9 percent increase in funding for the Fire Department and 11
percent increase for Emergency Medical Services.
Fire Chief Richard O’Brien requested approximately $2.1 million for the Fire
Department, an increase of about $180,000 from 2007, and $361,590 for
Emergency Medical Services, an increase of almost $35,000. This would bring
the Fire Department’s funding a little higher than 2005 levels.
Some items accounting for the increase include a new roof for Station 18, new
personal protective equipment, a new ambulance and state-of-the-art cardiac
monitoring equipment that allows doctors to track cardiac status while a
patient is en route to the hospital.
“If (the price) gives you a heart attack, we’ll be able to treat you with
the new cardiac monitor,” O’Brien joked.
The budget also sets aside money to hire a professional to begin planning for
a new station a few years down the line that could accommodate 24/7 Fire
Personnel costs associated with additional weekend hours – which expanded
from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. to 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. – as well as status changes and
accompanying salary increases that were frozen during the previous years of
level funding, account for another portion of the budget change, according to
“The lion’s share of the Fire Department budget is personnel related,”
said O’Brien. “Our greatest resource is our personnel. That’s reflected
in the budget.”
O’Brien, no stranger to rounding up grant money from his years with the Rye
Fire Department, is applying for a five-year performance based Homeland
Security grant that would provide up to $300,000 for the hiring of two
firefighters. If awarded, it would relieve some of the budgeted overtime
Selectman Scott Gross expressed interest in the physical fitness testing and
asked if the same vendor could be used for the Police Department, Fire
Department and other departments that hold annual physical tests. O’Brien
replied that the Fire Department testing requirements are held to rigorous
NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards.
“I would think it could,” said O’Brien. “Frankly, I don’t know.
We’d have to sit down collectively to see what (the other departments’)
needs would be.”
The Board of Selectmen will hear one more budget presentation for the
administration department on Thursday, Oct. 9, and then make their
recommendations to the Budget Committee, usually by Nov. 1, said Finance
Director Janice O’Connell.
After that, the Budget Committee will make its own recommendations sometime
Reproduced by the Goffstown