Central Platte increases firefighters’ stipend right here

Every year, Central Platte firefighters and their families enjoy a Christmas party at the fire station on Main Street in Platte City. This year, firefighters will get a nice present in their stockings as well. At its meeting Tuesday night, the Central Platte Board of Directors approved increasing the stipend each firefighter is paid per call answered. The increase will go into effect in 2014 and is the first in “5-6 years” said Board President Paul Regan. “I just think we need to bump that up a little bit,” Regan said. “Our guys do such a good job and deserve it. Even with the increase, it’s still pretty cheap fire protection.” Currently, firefighters get $13 for each call up to 150, $15 for each call from 150 to 250 and $16 per call for 250 and over. With the increase, those stipends will move to $14, $16 and $17, respectively. Firefighters also get a $300 bonus if they respond to 425 or more calls per year. Last year, the District paid a little more than $143,000 to firefighters for calls responded to. Board accountant Lisa Bjustrom said the 2013 total is tracking towards that figure again for 7,800 collective responses by 38 firefighters to emergency calls in 2013. Board officials said that number is due to the fact that there are less firefighters responding to each call than in the past – partly by design and partly due to firefighter attrition. The Board also voted to increase the monthly stipend for seven persons who hold administrative posts with the fire district. Firefighter Larry Bigus is currently paid $175 per month in his role as fire chief, firefighter Rob O’Dell is paid $125 for serving as assistant chief, Bjustrom is paid $220 per month for her accountant duties and firefighter Mike Bigus is paid $140 per month for computer services. They will all receive a $10 per-month increase. Firefighters Chris Columbus, Jeff Bruner and Arnie Wilkins, who serve as fire inspectors for the fire district, will each receive a $5 increase from $65 to $70. The Board also approved the purchase of four rook hooks that firefighters use for pulling shingles and other debris off buildings at a cost estimate of $400 total.