Watertown fire chief to propose plans for department staffing at Monday’s city council meeting

Watertown Fire Department staffing levels
Published: Feb. 5, 2023 at 4:31 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - City of Watertown Fire Chief Matt Timerman is asking city council to increase their department’s staffing levels from 66 to 73.

In a memo to city council, Timerman says they were denied SAFER Grant funding which is federal money that would cover the salaries and benefits of new firefighters for three years. In turn, he says their current staffing generates very high levels of overtime, spending close to $700 thousand so far this fiscal year.

Timerman says that’s 87% of their overtime budget used in the first 58% of this year.

He also says since they were denied, their administrative captain position would need to be demoted, putting additional work on other people in the company.

Timerman has made two recommendations to council for them to review:

1) Leave the administrative captain position in place and increase staffing to 73, he says that would result in roughly $170 thousand in savings annually.

or 2) Leave the administrative captain in place and increase staffing to 69, it would result in less savings at around $109 thousand but allow for a SAFER application for 4 personnel if council desired.

Timerman will discuss this report in front of city council at Monday night’s meeting.