By MORGAN MANNS
FOR THE COURIER
FOSTORIA — Overtime costs were a hot topic during Thursday’s Fostoria Finance Committee meeting.
City Auditor Steve Garner presented overtime costs of all Fostoria departments to committee members during the meeting, which resulted in a lengthy discussion about the significant increase in the fire division’s overtime from last payroll to this payroll.
Fire department overtime for the year grew from $214,838 on Oct. 25 to $238,493 through Nov. 8.
John Schuld, Finance Committee chairperson, said he learned overtime for each payroll was averaging about $10,000 within the fire division. However, the Nov. 8 payroll numbers increased by $23,655.
“That jumped two and a half times,” he said. “We’ve got to do something better — we’re going in the wrong direction.”
Safety Service Director Deb Hellman said the fire department’s jump in overtime costs included the extra 40 hours that crews put in for confined space training last week, as well as fire inspector training for three lieutenants.
Fire Chief Brian Herbert said the fire inspector class is a one-time thing for the new lieutenants, and the confined space training takes place every other year.
Part of the increase in overtime costs is also due to mandatory hydrant maintenance, which is eight hours per day for roughly four weeks.
Herbert said, “A large percent will be taken care of when we are up to full staff.”
The city will swear in its newest firefighter today at the fire station. Herbert said the division needs one more firefighter to be at full staff. Interviews are scheduled for this month.
Fostoria Police Division’s overtime reached $302,570 through Oct. 25 and $315,588 through Nov. 8. The department averages about $13,700 in overtime each pay period, according to Schuld.
During Thursday’s regular council meeting, officials announced repairs at Fostoria Metropolitan Airport are complete.
A total of $225,055 was spent, and the money will be repaid by a grant.
Separately, council approved a resolution allowing the mayor to file an application with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for financial assistance under the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
Officials have said the grant would be used to renovate the city pool.