About one-quarter of Dundalk fire department calls are in Melancthon, and that was the basis for costs proposed by Southgate in a new five-year fire contract.
Operating costs to Melancthon will be $48,000 in year one and increasing through the term to $62,400 in 2025.
When combined with capital contribution and the payment for the chief filling the role as Chief Fire Official, the total will be $80,000 in Year 5.
Dundalk Fire Chief Derek Malynyk and Southgate CAO Dave Milliner were present online last Thursday to answer Melancthon councillors’ questions about the report.
“I’m fully in support of moving us to a place where we’re paying for what it costs you,” said Mayor Darren White.
He added that all members of council are members of various fire boards and now how expensive fire fighting has become with the steady increase in regulations that need to be met in all areas.
Dundalk Fire Department has 35 firefighters. Significant for volunteer departments where members also have jobs, they get 14 firefighters responding to daytime calls, and more on evenings and weekends. For a structure fire in the evening, there may be 20 to 25.
If more show up at the hall than are needed, they are paid for their response and sent home.
But the numbers provide assurance of response, and also put the department in a good position to deal with unexpected turnover, as people move more often now than used to be the case.
“It’s really satisfying to us that we can provide the needed suppression or respond to the medical call, whatever it is,” the chief said.
The Chief also has duties as chief fire official in the area covered by Southgate which means an investigation in all fires. If the fire marshall’s office is involved this is one or two full days. He also carries out inspections as requested, as well as handling burn complaints. There is a separate payment, starting at $4,000 per year for that role.
Melancthon contributes $7,000 to capital reserve, which will increase one thousand per year over the term of the contract. The fire chief gave sample costs such as new firefighting boots purchased in 2019 for $10,000, a pick-up for $75,000 and the new pumper tanker truck which will provide service in Melancthon at just under $700,000.
M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald