At a planning session earlier this week, Owen noted that he was not asking the town to start funding the positions yet, but in the near future, he would be requesting the additions with hopes they’d be granted.
If the board approves Owen’s request, the department will have two part-time paid firemen on staff and 27 volunteer firefighters instead of having a 100 percent volunteer department.
“This is just something I wanted you to look at in the future,” Owen noted.
To prove that some fire departments are beginning to transition to a hired force rather than a volunteer one, Owen told the board that other Sampson municipalities have already made moves in that directions. Currently, he noted that Autryville has plans to bring on four paid firefighters and Salemburg has already employeed some part-time officers.
Owen stressed that he is looking for part-time firefighters, not individuals who will sit there 12 hours a day.
“They will have chores to do,” said Owen. He also stressed that these officers would be heavily skilled in firefighting and would have obtained a Level II firefighter status.
While his plans were still in the beginning stages, the fire chief pointed out that he would like the paid staff to make at least $8 or $8.50 an hour if the person has been trained in emergency management services.
Owen added that he does have a wish list of hiring four part-time fire fighters, but he would be happy if even two were considered.
Mayor Roland Hall advised Owen to come back at a later meeting with a written proposal of exactly what he is asking for.
The mayor then expressed that Owen may also want to contact the county about helping to fund these positions, since out of 400 calls, 80 percent of the calls to the fire department come from an area outside of Roseboro.
Hall then advised Owen to come back later with an analysis to determine what portion of the funds would have to come from town coffers.
Katie Holland can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 136, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.