Wednesday, October 3, 2007 
Increases sought for proposed fire budget

Goffstown News Correspondent

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 Department service.

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 O’Brien.

“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 costs.

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 before January.


Reproduced by the Goffstown Residents Association.


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