Fruitland fire department considers full-time employees - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Fruitland fire department considers full-time employees

FRUITLAND, MO (KFVS) -

Money, or rather a lack thereof, is a problem volunteer fire departments across the country deal with.

Fruitland's fire department is struggling because of an uptick in the number of calls they're getting.

They have a plan to fix it but need the public to weigh in first.

Fruitland has 29 volunteer firefighters.

That may sound like a lot, but it's not enough considering all those volunteers have other full-time jobs.

 The department is in the very early stages of considering a combination department, some paid personnel and some volunteers.

They've seen a big increase in call volume and are stretched thin when trying to respond.

Fire Chief Rob Francis said there's a need for some full-time employees and it's not a quick fix.

"It would mean tax increases and that's one of the things we want to talk to the people about," said Francis. "The survey we just sent out to get the feel of what citizens here want to see us do. That's the beginning, if we get a favorable then we have public meetings and proceed from there. It's not an easy process. A lot of people think we just decide one moment that we're gonna put people full-time, it doesn't work that way."

A possible tax increase to pay for a few full-time employees would require a ballot measure and a public vote.

For now, the department is trying to get community reaction to see if that would be a possibility.

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