At the January 24, 2017 Wixom City Council Meeting, Councilmember Nick Kennedy expressed concern as to why Wixom only had nine Paid-on-Call (POC) Firefighters under the city’s current organizational chart. Kennedy is worried that if there really were only nine POC Firefighters, they must be getting burned out.
City Manager Goodlein said it was difficult for all communities to obtain the services of POC Firefighters. He explained that years ago, some businesses would allow their employees to leave the job without loss of pay to respond to an emergency call. Goodlein cited MAC Valves as one of the businesses that would allow it.
Public Safety Director Charles Yon added that every fire department in the area has the same issue and many departments allow members to live outside of their respective cities.
Councilmember Kennedy then put forth the idea for a separate millage for a potential full-time fire department here in Wixom. Mr. Goodlein said if that was the direction council wanted to go, he would certainly get more information.
Kennedy said that it might be better to first discuss it during the coming budget study sessions in April. Councilmember Kennedy added that he felt that the council and city staff should begin working on something more long term for the city’s fire department. He thought it would be nice to have a ten or fifteen year funded plan in place for police and fire. Public Safety Director Yon said the decrease in staffing really occurred over the last few years. In the past, there were usually twenty or so POC firefighters.
Mr. Goodlein noted that when addressing staffing concerns, there was a certain level of uncertainty relative to revenue but that it was fluid. Goodlein also noted that the last thing they want to do was hire people and then be forced to lay them off because there is no funding.
Councilmember Kennedy believed this would be the time – while they had the “up to” 3.5 mills – to pursue a long term solution to this potential problem. He thought this should be put out to the community to determine if this was something they’d be interested in.
Mayor Hinkley wondered if someone lived outside the City of Wixom, but worked inside the City, would they be able to be a POC firefighter for Wixom. Public Safety Director Yon said that could be a possibility and that they would look into it.
Councilmember Gottschall mentioned that he received a post card from Novi stating that if you lived within five miles of Novi, you could be a firefighter for Novi. Gottschall thought it would be a good opportunity to open the Paid-on-Call firefighting jobs to people that work in the city so that day time fire calls would be covered.