Eric White, David Henthorn and Coltin Malchow were pinned as the newest firefighters for the Rush City Fire Department during the Rush City Council meeting Monday, Aug. 12.
“We’ve invited all the families here,” Rush City Fire Chief Bob Carlson said. “With the city’s help, with the families’ help, and everybody else’s help, it’s gone remarkably well.”
According to Carlson, the newly pinned firefighters went through testing through Central Lakes College and finished fire training 1 during April and May and fire training 2 in June. Also, they have gone out on 70-80% of the fire calls recently, including weekdays, nights and weekends.
“It’s been enjoyable to have them here working with us,” Carlson said. “Hopefully, they’ll stay for another 18 to 20 years.”
The fire department asked the council for a pension increase, which is currently $2,300 per year.
“Our accomplishments in the last year include the pancake breakfast and the Polar Lunge. From April and May, we’ve taken in over $5,500,” Carlson said. “One of our biggest accomplishments is the completion of firefighter training 1 and fire training 2. We are not asking for a wage increase as far as for personnel. We want to keep people long-term, and that is a huge commitment. So far this year we’ve got the highest number of calls we’ve had in the last 40 years.”
Carlson said training costs this year were approximately $12,000 and should be 100% reimbursed to the city because of the Minnesota Board of Fire Training and Education Grant the department received.
“A lot of things went into this as far as response time, personnel training and equipment, just to name a few things that go into that,” Carlson said.
The Rush City Fire Department is publishing its third calendar for 2020 due to fundraising.
“We’ve raised over $30,000 in the last two years to purchase new equipment and over $22,000 in donations for the extrication equipment,” Carlson said. “Our new fire truck will be here in October to replace our 1993 fire truck.”
“I don’t know if you know this, but when we have fire calls, the fire department members get $12 for the first two hours and $6 for anything after that,” City Administrator Amy Mell said. “The pay per hour that they get per hour is very tiny. A pension is a way to help once they’re trained and they’ll stay on at least 10 years or longer.”
Carlson said the rate has not raised in 12 years.
“I don’t see any reason for doing it for one year,” Councilor Michael Louzek. “I don’t think there is any reason to see Bob come here and have to go through this every year.”
Louzek proposed a $200 increase for the next three years for the department pension: $2,500 for 2020, $2,700 for 2021 and $2,900 in 2022.
The council voted in favor of the motion unanimously and thanked the Rush City Fire Department for all the work they do for the community.
The council noted an upcoming event for the Rush City Education Foundation Fling on Saturday, Sept. 21, at North Folk Winery from 6-10 p.m.