The Leitchfield Fire Department may soon be able to increase its number of members from 40 to 49.
During the regularly scheduled Monday, Feb. 17 Leitchfield City Council meeting, City Attorney Kenneth Smart provided the first reading of an amended ordinance regarding the permitted number of LFD members.
The amended ordinance will allow the LFD to increase the number of members it may have from 40 to 49, a number that would accommodate the numerous firefighters recently hired by the LFD.
First Assistant Leitchfield Fire Chief Tim Duvall said in a later interview that while the current roster has not yet been fully tallied, the addition of at least six new firefighters - including the agency’s first-ever female firefighters - sets the LFD’s roster at more than 40 active members.
“We’ve made history,” Duvall said in regards to the LFD’s hiring its first female firefighters.
The LFD’s new firefighters, who are currently in their six-month probationary period, include Amanda Fulkerson, Cody Hayes, Mary Beth Mattingly, Jamie Slayton, Chuck VanMeter, and Andrew Whobrey.
According to Duvall, these firefighters have completed the initial training required for them to go on runs with the department.
The cost to outfit a new firefighter with the necessary equipment is between $2,000 and $2,500, and all new firefighters must complete 150 hours of certified training, Duvall said.
The City decided to permit the LFD to have a maximum of only 49 members due to the Affordable Care Act.
According to Leitchfield Mayor William Thomason, the Affordable Care Act previously required fire departments with 50 or more members to provide healthcare to their firefighters.
The requirement was rescinded, but the City of Leitchfield chose to allow the LFD to have at maximum only 49 members in case the requirement were to be reinstated, Smart said.
Leitchfield City Councilmember Billy Dallas said providing healthcare for all of the LFD’s firefighters would cost the City around $300,000.
The first reading of the amended ordinance regarding the number of LFD members was approved by the City Council.
In other business:
*Leitchfield Tourism Director Ilsa Johnson reported that the City of Leitchfield had applied for and received a $5,295 Safety Grant from the Kentucky League of Cities.
Johnson said half of the grant will go toward purchasing safety equipment for the Leitchfield Police Department, and the other half will go into the City’s general account to purchase safety shoes.
*The City Council passed a motion to purchase a credit card machine for the City’s transfer station at the rate of $19 per month.
*The City Council decided to hold another specially called planning session in regards to the New Cities Initiative on Tuesday, March 11 at 5 p.m.
*Leitchfield Public Works Director Sheila Puckett commended the Public Works employees for their hard work during the recent winter weather.