Village Board of Trustees says No to full-time, No to emergency light funding for volunteer Fire Chief

By Benjamin Cox on June 20, 2019 at 10:18pm

The South Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Chief will not become a full-time position.

The news comes within the first few months of new chief Richard Evans Junior’s tenure within the volunteer department.

The chief of the South Jacksonville Fire and Rescue department makes $4,000 salary.

Evans wanted to increase to $60,000 per year, and also requested $20,000 in benefits.

The fire chief laid this out in his preliminary budget line items, but trustees removed it.

There was also an action item the meeting to approve “remaining May 2019 payables”.

This was in regards to a check that was presented as part of payables during the June meeting on Thursday the 6th. A check for over $700 was offered to the Board of Trustees by Evans, requesting payables for bill of purchase of emergency lighting in his personal vehicle.

It was tabled, presumably for further discussion, but a veteran village trustee says talks are over for this subject, at least until discussions begin for the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 budget.

Trustee Paula Belobradjic-Stewart motioned for the bill’s removal from May payables.

“I questioned it and removed it, with the support of the other trustees, at the June meeting. We’re not paying for his lights. That bill was over $700 to GTSI, and I removed it as questionable because it was declared for a personal vehicle. We’ve never paid for those in the past. Harry removed it Thursday night and said it was taken care of, so that simply ends the conversation of the village paying for the lighting structure.”

Belobradjic-Stewart says the Board of Trustees will keep the village fire department at a volunteer basis. She says the salary proposed by Evans for his budget is being disregarded.

“The fire department budget that he gave us – we removed the full time position. There will be no full time chief. At least for this fiscal year, it’s off the table. It’s not even in consideration. He had allotted for $80,000 in his budget for his full-time fire chief position and the board removed it. We approved the fire department budget without his request.”

The official budgetary amount of money allocated for the fire and rescue department, in the unanimously approved Fiscal Year 2019-2020 village budget, is $272,400.00. Ambulance funding for volunteer EMTs, which are also under the leadership of Evans, totaled $29,270.00.