May 23–WHITMAN, MA– The town’s voters approved the first staffing increase for firefighters in over 50 years on Saturday.
During the town election, residents voted 591 to 409 in favor of an override ballot question. The vote allocates an additional $310,000 in property-tax revenue to add three firefighter/paramedics to the Whitman Fire Department.
It was the first staffing increase in more than 50 years, despite an increase in the department’s call volume by 177 percent in those years.
“I am grateful to Whitman’s voters for endorsing this override proposal,” Fire Chief Timothy Grenno said in a written statement. “Being able to add an additional first responder to each shift will help us better serve the people of Whitman and be better prepared to handle multiple calls simultaneously, increasing public safety for the entire community.”
The department has had five firefighter/paramedics on each of its three shifts since 1965, when it became a full-time operation. In 1965, the department saw 500 calls each year, but there were 2,600 calls in 2016.
“Our department has seen its workload increase consistently for decades,” Grenno said. “This is the most effective way for us to be able to enhance our ability to respond to calls for service while minimizing the cost to taxpayers.”
The average increase residents will pay in taxes for the override is $56.18 per year, which is paid quarterly.
Cody Shepard On May 23, 2017
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