Seekonk Selectmen Skeptical of Fire Department Expansion
In a discussion with Fire Chief David Rave on Wednesday, the Board of Selectmen questioned if the town could sustain the financial cost of hiring more firefighters. Rave wanted to apply for a federal grant which would give the town the funds to hire more personnel for three years. The department has 38 members currently. There are two vacancies. “I think we’re going to be able to absorb these extra people,” Rave told selectmen.
“Obviously there’s no guarantee of getting the grant and how much we’re going to get for how many people,” said Selectman Chris Zorra, noting town meeting voters might not be willing to pay for the additional firefighters in the annual budget. “I would hate for these people lose their jobs.”
Chairman Justin Sullivan said the current fire department budget is $3 million. Adding 10 more firefighters would cost between $500 and $600,000 annually, Sullivan noted.
The fate of the construction of the fire station in the south end will be a factor in the board’s determination whether or not more firefighters are needed. “If, for whatever reason that station hits some delays or it doesn’t get approved or whatever it is and we’re five years out, we haven’t really prepared for it. It’s one thing when you ease into it. It’s another thing when you get hit with a $500 or $600,000 charge and you’re just not ready for it,” Sullivan added.