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Jefferson City Fire Department requests radios during city budget process

Jefferson City Fire Department requests radios during city budget process

August 9th, 2019 by Nicole Roberts in Local News

From right, Council members David Kemna, Laura Ward, Carlos Graham and Mark Schreiber look over the proposed mayor-approved 2020 fiscal year budget during Monday's Jefferson City Budget Committee meeting.

Photo by Nicole Roberts /News Tribune.

Having a sufficient number of mobile and portable radios was the Jefferson City Fire Department's top request during Thursday's Jefferson City Budget Committee meeting.

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The proposed 2020 fiscal year mayor-approved budget for the Jefferson City Fire Department is $7,812,301. FY2020 begins Nov. 1.

The department submitted 14 pink sheet requests for a total of more than $1.8 million. None of the pink sheets were funded in the mayor-approved budget.

The top priority was a two-way mobile and portable radio replacement, with an estimated cost of $158,000, according to the proposed budget.

Currently, firefighters share radios, and there are enough radios for members on one shift, Jefferson City Fire Chief Matt Schofield said. While this works during routine operations, he added, it is inconvenient when the department has to call more personnel to address large disasters.

Jefferson City recently experienced a large disaster May 22 when an EF-3 tornado swept through the Capital City. When extra personnel were called in to respond to the tornado, Schofield said, they did not have enough portable radios for everyone.

His goal would be for each firefighter to have his or her own portable radio.

"Known deficiencies in large structures have been a challenge to operational effectiveness for many years," according to the pink sheet. "New technology and recently acquired frequencies are an improvement, but we lack an updated portable radio for each firefighter. This technology allows greater interoperability with regional and statewide agencies."

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The largest pink sheet request was to replace the Hyde Park burn building, an estimated cost of $525,000.

Currently, the fire department cannot use the building for live burns since a structural engineer ruled in 2017 that the building is hazardous and non-compliant, Schofield said. There hasn't been any funding for improvements to the burn building in more than 23 years, according to the pink sheet.

The department "gets creative" by using things like smoke machines instead of live burns, Schofield said.

"We try to do what we can, but eventually, the building will need to be replaced or remodeled so we can use it for live model burns," he said.

There was also a request to remodel Fire Station No. 4, which was built in 1969 and is located on Ellis Boulevard. The pink sheet request was for $395,000.

The funds would add office space, bunk rooms and bathrooms that would support male and female firefighters, Schofield said.

Other pink sheet requests included funding for part-time office support, additional personnel to staff the ladder trucks, ballistic protection, medical gloves, two response vehicles, a fire marshal/safety officer and a fire ATV. It also includes requests to retrofit fire sprinklers at Fire Station No. 1 and 5, as well as a long-term fund to purchase fleet replacements.

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The Fire Museum budget has a proposed budget of $1,860, Schofield said.

In other business Thursday, the Budget Committee also reviewed the budgets for the Jefferson City Council, mayor, city clerk, city administrator, finance department, and information and technology department.

The City Council and mayor's proposed budget for FY2020 is $117,355, with personnel services taking up nearly 93 percent of those expenses. Personnel services are comprised of salaries, Social Security and workers compensation.

The proposed budget contains $65,925 in salaries for the mayor and council members, about $35,000 in salary for the prosecuting attorney, and nearly $7,721 for Social Security.

The proposed city clerk budget is $95,328, and the proposed city administrator budget is $286,672.

The Jefferson City Finance Department's proposed budget consists of $954,902, and the non-departmental proposed budget is $947,208.

The Jefferson City Information Technology Services Department's proposed budget is $1,026,977. The department also submitted three pink sheet items for a total of $103,000, but none of the funding requests were approved in the mayor-approved budget.

The department requested upgrading the city's email system as well as city's computers from Microsoft Office 2010 to Microsoft Office 2019 and funding an enterprise agreement.

The agreement would address license shortage issues due to geographic information system users needed more advanced licenses to connect to the city's production SDE geodatabase, according to the pink sheet.

The overall proposed mayor-approved budget for FY2020 is more than $65.1 million. The general fund budget for FY2020 is more than $32.9 million.