The Prudential Committee on Wednesday approved a raise for the town's call firefighters.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The board that governs the town's fire district on Wednesday voted unanimously to give a modest raise to its chief, his officers and the town's call volunteer firefighters.
The Prudential Committee will spend the next month hammering out details of the district's fiscal 2015 budget in anticipation of the May 27 annual Fire District meeting.
On Wednesday, it got the process started, acting on a motion from Chairman John Notsley to increase wages, including those of the firefighters, who had not seen an increase in five years.
Although not full-time or even part-time employees, Williamstown firefighters receive a stipend of $15 per hour for the time they spend responding to calls. Notsley recommended raising that figure to $16 per hour, and the other two members of the committee agreed.
Chief Craig Pedercini is in line for a 2 percent salary increase, and his engineers, who have not seen an increase in eight years, would receive $250 more per year, according to Notsley's motion.
"The engineers have been doing a fantastic job, as well as the men," said Notsley, who participated in the meeting via speaker phone. "They have their auto expenses and all the other expenses they're not reimbursed for."
And, he noted, the call volunteer firefighters are a bargain for the town.
"You couldn't hire one full-time fireman in Western Mass for what we pay per year," Notsley said.
In FY14, the district budgeted $56,500 to pay its firefighters.
In other business on Wednesday, the Prudential Committee discussed improvements to the department's communications system and establishing a regular replacement schedule for firefighter's equipment (coat, pants, boots and helmets), which national standards say should be replaced at least once every 10 years.
The committee — which is responsible for the town's street lights — also granted the request of a town resident and agreed to pursue installation of a light at the intersection of Woodcock Road and Cold Spring Road (Route 7).
"It's a dark area," committee member Ed McGowan said after evaluating the intersection in response to a resident's letter. "I think we need it there."