The Village of South Jacksonville still has some details to iron out before a full-time fire chief position is created.
The initiative to create a full-time chief position dates back almost two years when current part-time chief Rich Evans, Jr. presented the board with a job description, comparable salaries, and his future plans if he were to be named to the full-time position.
Village Trustee Stacy Pinkerton motioned to table the action item last night during approval of the agenda for the village business meeting saying that the board simply wasn’t ready to vote on the creation of the position. The board voted 4-2 in favor of removing the item from the agenda, with trustees Tom Jordan and John Stewart voting no.
Jordan says that the position will help the village to continue its growth: “I think would be beneficial for the village moving forward for our growth, our protection, and our residents. [The creation of the position] could possibly be a step forward for having a full-time ambulance service, which is badly needed in this area.”
New trustee Jackie Killion says that there are some missing details that need to be filled in, but the village does want the position created: “First and foremost, we want to make it extremely clear, we all want a fire chief. Let’s just put that out there right now. We’re not against a [full-time] fire chief. I’ve never been against it. I think it’s a great idea. I think our community deserves it; but what I found out, and I have been doing my research, is that we don’t know anything about [the fire department’s] budget. I don’t know what the budget is. I don’t know how much is left. I don’t know how much is spent. I don’t have a timeframe over the last, say, four years of what the budget is, how much is spent, and if we can sustain it. We want the [full-time] chief. We like Rich, but I have to agree when [the other trustees] say that we are going to give him a job but not be able to sustain it. We are going to ask [Rich] to give up his job of all these years where I am sure he makes good money to come here and then we end up saying ‘Well, we sort of ran the money and this happened and that happened and now we don’t have it.’ Maybe if we can see that in hard copy and not just hear [that we can sustain the position], that would lead to it being created.”
The proposal now heads back to the public protection committee and the personnel committee to wrap up any remaining questions.
In other village business last night, the village approved a 0% increase to their tax levy; hired Michael Theis for the Public Works Department; and approved the promotion of Police Officer Dan Bormann to Sergeant and approved his appointment to be the department’s field training officer.
The board also voted to table Jose Lopez’s TIF agreement for the new Casa Real restaurant. Trustee Megan Davidson said that some details needed to be finalized on Lopez’s final TIF application with numbers before final approval.