South Sioux City Council approves fire budget for new employees, - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

South Sioux City Council approves fire budget for new employees, facility upgrade

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SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Nebraska (KTIV) - A change to the South Sioux City, Nebraska capital improvement budget means two more people are getting a job, and public safety is projected to improve.

The city council members voted unanimously at their finance meeting Wednesday morning for several different things, all in favor of helping the fire department grow their operations.

The South Sioux City Fire Department first got the go-ahead to add two more paid firefighters to their staff.

Currently, they have 25 volunteers, including their chief, and two paid firefighters.

The three council members in attendance also approved funding to re-do Fire Hall 1 in town, so that it can hold a normal-sized fire truck, which means the department will no longer have to custom order a smaller and more expensive truck.

Fire Chief Toby English says adding two more non-volunteers to the staff is crucial to public safety.

"It's not as easy for employers to let employees go in the middle of the day to answer a pager. So it's kind of a natural progression of the community, being as that it's grown. We're not the department we were ten years ago, were not the department we were thirty years ago," English said.

City Council members said it was a no-brainer to vote in favor of increasing the size of the fire department operations, both with equipment and personnel.

Council member Bruce Davis said it was just a part of the "growing pains" that go along with a city increasing in size.

"You can only have a volunteer fire department for a specific period of time, and we have a great volunteer fire department, but we have a lot of needs, we have a lot of growth, we have a lot of industry, especially on the south edge of town. So it's just a natural progression, and it's something that we've been planning for a number of years, and so it's just time to move forward," Davis said.

The city doesn't have specific figures for the cost. That will be decided at the city council meeting on April 28.

Davis said all of this funding comes out of the public safety tax, a part of the normal sales tax in South Sioux City.

Chief English said they've tried hard since the first of the year to make it as economical of a budget change as possible.

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