BREWER, Maine — City councilors on Wednesday night gave fire and police command officers a raise, heard the Fire Department was awarded grant money for a new firetruck, and received a thank-you from firefighters for the new public safety building.
Fire and police command officers were given a 2 percent cost-of-living raise as part of their new three-year contract, which is retroactive to July 1.
Fire officers, who have emergency medical service licenses, also will have stipends that range from $35 to $55 for those certifications rolled into their base pay.
To encourage officers to get hazardous material training, a $5 per paycheck stipend was added to the contract, and to maintain physical fitness, a $150 bonus will be offered to those who exercise vigorously three times a week for 40 weeks of the year.
The only other change to the fire officer contract involved reducing the allowable banking of sick leave from 1,680 hours to 1,344, in “an effort to reduce sick leave use,” a summary of the contract changes states.
For police command officers, the contract now requires detectives who have left for the day and are called back to work be paid for a minimum of three hours. The new contract also makes minor compensation time changes and increases the boot allowance from $150 to $200.
During the public comment portion of the council meeting, firefighters Eric Tourtillotte and Ralph Cammack took the podium to thank councilors, the community, the construction and architecture companies and others for their work on the new public safety building on Parkway South, which they moved into last week.
“We know why we’re proud to be employees of the city of Brewer,” Tourtillotte said. He added later, “The building is truly something to be proud of.”
The two gave special thanks to City Manager Steve Bost, City Engineer Frank Higgins, Fire Chief Rick Bronson, Assistant Chief Chris Dorr, Police Chief Perry Antone, Capt. Jason Moffitt and Lt. Chris Martin for their hours of work to ensure that money was used to make the building the best it could be.
Bronson said more than 1,000 residents have toured the new building.
“The one thing that stands out to me is the civic pride,” Mayor Manley DeBeck said.
He said the city “always had great people” who worked for years in a deteriorating station. “Now we have great people who work out of a great building.”
The fire chief also announced that the city was awarded Department of Homeland Security grants totaling $122,075.
“We’re going to use it to buy a first response minipumper,” he said after the meeting.
The new truck will replace a full-size 1964 firetruck.
During the meeting, councilors also:
— Heard a presentation by Janet Hock, director of the Maine Institute for Human Genetics and Health, about its programs and plans for a lab in the city in 2010 or 2011.
— Decided to allow proposed changes to the open-burning rules to die on the table.
— Approved local liquor and amusement licenses for David and Susan Kennedy, who plan to open a Beef ’O’ Brady’s restaurant at the old Applebee’s location on outer Wilson Street.