By Terry Schrimscher, For The Tribune
SPRINGVILLE — The Springville City Council met for the regular meeting on Monday night, February 7. The approved agenda for the evening contained only three items of business.
Speaking in the work session prior to the meeting, Fire Chief Richard Harvey addressed staffing shortages in his department. Due to a lack of paramedics on staff, the department may temporarily close one of the city’s two fire stations.
“Our minimum staffing in the fire department is three personnel, of which one of those has to be a paramedic,” said Harvey. “Those three personnel need to be certified firefighters.”
Harvey said the city’s “Grow Your Own” process has allowed the department to hire future firefighters who are still in school. He expects many of them to be available in the next six months, but the shortage of paramedics needs to be addressed sooner.
“We’re actually having to close down, or what I call brown out, station number two because of the lack of personnel,” Harvey said. “Even with overtime trying to keep our minimum numbers there. It’s what we’re having to do.”
Harvey asked the Council to create a new, temporary full-time position for a paramedic. He also asked for authorization to hire for the position without waiting for the next council meeting for approval.
Currently, the city employs 10 full-time firefighters, three administrative employees, and six part-time firefighters. However, only one full-time firefighter is a paramedic. Chief Harvey and Captain Robinson are also paramedics, filling in as needed to maintain proper staffing.
Harvey told the Trussville Tribune the shortage of paramedics is widespread and not limited to Springville. He said four of the six part-time firefighters are paramedics, which allows him to keep each shift staffed.
The Council approved the new position in the regular meeting.
Parks & Recreation Director Rick Hopkins gave an update on the city’s sports programs, saying most sports have grown between 30% and 50% in the last year. Hopkins also requested a new truck for the department to help with heavy equipment towing.
“The big thing we need this for is the nature preserve,” Hopkins said. “This is so we can take the skid steer out, clean off the trails, and maintain our work.”
Hopkins presented a quote from Stivers Ford for a new truck costing $41,594. The motion failed by a vote of 3-4, with council members David Vinson and Sherry Reaves voting for the purchase along with Mayor Dave Thomas. Councilmember Wayne Tucker was absent due to illness.
While members of the Council agreed the new vehicle will be needed, they expressed concern that it was not included in the budget.
“I think we’re all in agreement,” said Thomas citing the need to be prudent. “We’ll figure out how to finance or pay for it and go from there.”