Two public meetings in September are required to formalize the Boca Grande Fire Department budget for 2012-13.
The Boca Grande Fire Department Board has approved giving firefighters a 2 percent cost-of-living increase but the motion does not become official until after public millage hearings are conducted at 5:15 p.m. Sept 6 and Sept. 19 at the BGFD, 360 E. Railroad Ave.
All BGFD firefighters who have met training and education requirements for the year earn a 2 percent COLA but others will also bank longevity increases, which are granted after six years service. The longevity increases were offered to help retain experienced firefighters who might otherwise move to larger fire departments seeking more money.
BGFD Fire Chief C.W. Blosser secured a raise for firefighters this year but said next year might bring no increases.
BGFD firefighters who have earned automatic longevity increases will make more than the 2 percent across-the-board pay raises, including four veterans who will pull down 8 percent and five veterans who will take a 6 percent increase.
The BGFD Board voted to dip into reserves rather than increase property taxes to support the pay raises. The BGFD carried $2.018 million in reserves into this fiscal year.
There will be no increase for the newest firefighter because finishing his initial employment probation precludes it. Starting BGFD pay is $36,380 annually.
Five BGFD firefighters with two to fours years experience will earn 2 percent COLA adjustments on salaries ranging from $37,471 at the low end to $43,647 at the maximum range. That will push the ranges to $38,220 at the low end and $44,520 at the upper range.
Three BGFD firefighters with five to seven years experience will also receive 2 percent COLA increases on salaries ranging from $44,832 at the low end to $51,636 at the upper range. The raise will move the salary ranges for them to $45,629 at the lower end and $52,698 at the higher end.
Longevity pay kicks in for all three of the firefighters at that experience level, which adds another 2 percent pay boost.
Six senior firefighters with experience ranging from eight to 14 years will receive a 2 percent COLA increase and 4 percent to 6 percent longevity pay raises. The salary levels of $53,475 at the low end and $62,878 at the upper end will be lifted to $67,908 at the high end and $56,683 at the lower end.
Three BGFD lieutenants with 10 to 14 years experience earn $76,418 to $76,646. They were given a 2 percent COLA and a 4 percent to 6 percent longevity raise. The top raise for this group will be $6,132 to a salary of $82,778.
Chief C.W. Blosser will earn $95,226 after the COLA increase.