Superior City Councilors Make A Push To Hire More Firefighters

The total cost for three firefighters would be $270,000 a year. 

SUPERIOR, Wis. – Superior City Councilors Craig Sutherland and Brent Fennessey want to fund three new firefighter positions to the department.

They say it’s all about safety and restoring positions cut in past budgets.

The total cost for three firefighters would be $270,000 a year, according to Mayor Jim Paine.

Councilor Fennessey tells us a majority of the funding, $173,000 would come from the Oil Pipeline Terminal Tax Revenue, $60,000 would come from excess funds set aside in the budget for things like extra road salt.

Fennessey says the remaining costs would even out by saving on overtime.

Meanwhile, Fire Chief Steve Panger says he supports the councilors’ efforts to restore three firefighting positions.

He says the increased staffing would help the department meet the industry standard of four firefighters per fire engine.

“Obviously it’s going to put more firefighters on the scene of a fire, give more firefighters more often on each engine company or any kind of call that they’ll respond to. it also brings our overall staffing up on a regular basis,” said Panger.

Superior Mayor Jim Paine says he is all for supporting the fire department’s needs, but he cautions councilors to truly find a long–term commitment to fund three firefighters, which comes with raises every year.

Paine tells us this would be the biggest fiscal commitment in a decade with the price tag adding up to around $900,000 over the next five years.

Paine also notes, while the Oil Pipeline Terminal Tax Revenue has been rising over the years, the rate is slowing down, and that source of revenue can’t be guaranteed.

Paine fully intends to support three new firefighter positions for 2019, but he stresses the city needs to secure more reliable funding first.

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