BICKNELL — City officials will offer a bump in pay to volunteer firefighters.
Mayor Thomas Estabrook said members of the city council this week voted to amend the city’s salary ordinance to reflect additional pay for firefighters going on medical runs.
“Since forever ago, volunteer firemen haven’t been paid for medical runs, yet they are about 75% of what they do,” Estabrook said. “We got to talking and decided we could do better.”
As a result of those conversations, city council members opted to begin paying volunteer firefighters $7 per medical run.
Doing some rough math, Estabrook said the fire department averages about 300 total runs per year. If 250 of those are medical runs, the city would pay a total of $7,000.
“It’s going to be a great thing, and we’re excited about it,” he said. “The firemen are excited about it, too. And in terms of public safety costs, it’s pretty cheap.”
Currently, the city also pays volunteer firefighters $12 for other runs, things like fires, wrecks and downed utility lines, among other things.
“Fire service has just evolved so much,” the mayor said. “When my dad got into it 40 years ago, they did more fires. Medical runs were few, but now that’s where it’s at. A lot has shifted, and we needed to work to address the need and reward those good enough to serve.”
Bicknell right now has two paid positions on its fire department — a chief and assistant chief — as well as 11 volunteer firefighters.
In other city business, members of the Board of Works issued an emergency demolition on a home at 718 Indiana St.
Estabrook said it was damaged in a fire about six months ago and has become a nuisance to neighbors.
The city has already hired Rod Mullins, a city councilman and local contractor, to tear it down.
The board also upheld a previous demolition order on 815 Durbin St.
The board issued the order a month ago and set a time for a hearing; the owner of the property did come this week to speak to BOW members, but they all agreed the home was “too far gone,” Estabrook said, and should be razed.
The city council, too, voted to spend about $12,000 to repair a water leak located behind the North Knox Primary School, 215 E. Fourth St.
The school was closed for a day recently as crews looked to figure out where the leak originated.
After clearing up some confusion as to where the line really was, a temporary fix was made, and now the 4-inch line located in an alley behind the school will be replaced.,
That repair, the mayor said, will be done this summer when kids are out of school.