Jamestown City Council has approved a new contract with the Jamestown Firefighter’s Union.
This is the second time Council voted on a contract this year after voting down the one presented to them in January.
Council President Tony Dolce said the issue then was that the contract included adding four firefighters to man a second ambulance, “They were removed from that, so now they’re being funded by ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) funds for those four positions. And so basically, other than that, it is identical to the Police contract that was passed back in January as well. So, we’re glad to have that behind us. I’m sure they are as well. And again, all the different units being under contract, it’s nice to have that out of the way.”
Mayor Eddie Sundquist said the contract with Jamestown Professional Firefighters Association Local 137 would cover January 1, 2021 through December 31, 2024, “They would provide pay raises similar to our Police Department and other bargaining units, providing a 2.5% increase from 2021 to 2023 and a 2.75% increase in 2024. It does provide some additional funding for firefighters to maintain their EMT certification.”
Also in the contract, firefighter’s health insurance contribution rates will raise from 21% for 2021 to 23% for 2022 through 2024.
Council also approved contracts totaling $4.5 million toward the renovation of the new Fleet Maintenance Building.
The new facility will be located on Washington Street in the former Hartley Buick building.
Public Works Director Jeff Lehman stated at the work session before council voted that the project is about $2 million over budget at this point.
Sundquist said construction costs have nearly doubled and tripled with inflation, “We do have (American) Rescue Plan funds that we can use to pay for it, but we want to remind folks that if we were to rebuild or create a completely new garage, we were looking at ten-plus million dollars at this point given inflation and others. So, the fact that we’re still hovering around $4 to $5 million for the rebuild, in addition some of that property was sold to a for-profit business that will have a business on it, I think it was a good result overall.”
Sundquist added the city had received $1 million from the State’s Financial Restructuring Board toward the project and has applied for an $800,000 NYSERDA grant to make it a “green” building, or environmentally friendly. The rest of the project is being funded through a bond approved in 2019.
Council also approved the appointment of John Sellstrom as the City’s new Comptroller.
Sundquist said Sellstrom has been an employee of the Jamestown Urban Renewal Agency for several years, “So he’s been dealing with a lot of different accounting and other financial things across the city, so we’re really excited to bring him on. It is obviously a very large position to take on. We’ve been very lucky to have our former comptrollers, both Ryan Thompson and Joe Bellitto, step in to provide some training and support. And we’re still actively looking for a deputy comptroller to provide additional support for John.”
Sellstrom replaces Ryan Thompson, who resigned as Comptroller on July 8 to take a job in the private sector.