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City to add full-time fire chief

POSTED: August 15, 2011 6:58 p.m.

The city of Springfield will be adding to its workforce and to its public safety reach.

The city is advertising for a full-time fire chief, a result of the fire service delivery agreements between the city and Effingham County. The city is taking applications until Sept. 2.

“Our higher call load requires us to have more people to do the 90 percent of the job that isn’t about running calls,” said Travis Zittrouer, who is the current chief of the Springfield Volunteer Fire Department.

The fire department ran approximately 400 calls for service last year, Zittrouer said.

“We’re almost at that now,” he added.

Based on a 65/35 split on the number of calls with the county, Springfield may add three full-time firefighters, including the chief. Zittrouer said Rincon may add five.

“It’s all about the level of service,” said City Manager Brett Bennett.

Zittrouer is a city employee and is paid partly from the city’s fire budget and its water-sewer budget for his meter reading duties.

At the 65/35 split with the county, the county essentially would be funding two of the positions, according to Bennett. The fire department budget is a little over $300,000 but the city’s existing fire fees structure would bring in only about $32,000.

“A large percentage of what they run is brush fires,” Bennett said of the Springfield Fire Department’s calls.

The Springfield Fire Department has a roster of more than 20 volunteers.

The city will raise its fire fees from $35 to $55 for residential customers and from $50 to $250 for commercial customers.

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