On Tuesday morning, Bloomington’s police and fire chiefs, along with the director of community and family resources department, delivered the city’s state of public safety report.
The presentation of such a report has been made an annual event by Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton. It is slotted ahead of the mayor’s state of the city address, which is scheduled this year for Thursday, Feb. 25.
Bloomington’s year in public safety for 2020 showed the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For a firefighter first class, the agreement calls for a 1-percent raise in 2021 to $54,625 in base pay. A 2-percent raise each year after that, through 2024, brings a firefighter’s base pay to $57,969.
According to a memo from the city’s corporation counsel, Philippa Guthrie, the city will be compensating firefighters by a total of about $2 million more, over the four-year term of the contract.
At the city council’s public safety committee review of the contract on Dec. 9, one concern raised by councilmember Jim Sims was about the diversity of the fire department. Fire chief Jason Moore reported a current department profile of about 5 percent women, and between 3 to 4 percent Black and or people of color.
Moore said that the department is working to recruit a more diverse pool of applicants, in part by supporting the Hoosier Hills Career Center in the Monroe County Community School Corporation and the Ivy Tech fire science program.
Bloomington city councilmember Jim Sims at Aug. 20, 2019 departmental budget hearings. (Dave Askins/Beacon)
Bloomington Fire Chief Jason Moore at Aug. 20, 2019 departmental budget hearings. (Dave Askins/Beacon)
The 10-year capital plan for Bloomington’s fire department includes two additional fire stations—one in the southwest and one in the southeast part of town. It also includes the replacement of two existing stations, and a relocation of the station that serves the Indiana University campus.
Those five stations together have an estimated cost of $28 million, and the three additional fire engines they’ll house will add another $1.8 million.
But those costs aren’t pegged to any particular year in the 10-year plan. So they’re not a part of the proposed $13.25 million budget for 2020, which Bloomington’s fire chief, Jason Moore, presented to the city council on Tuesday night.
Responding to a councilmember question about the timeframe for building new stations, Moore said, “To start making decisions when everything is so fluid, I feel would be rushed and ill-advised. So we will be making recommendations when it’s appropriate and when the entire big picture of public safety can be really painted crystal clear for everyone.”