Fire Chief Mike Heston said even with this year's tight budget, the department will be able to cover the cost because it has significantly increased its revenue by streamlining billing collections. The council also approved Heston's increase in ambulance and fire prevention fees, that will help fund the pay increase.
"Plus, I looked at a whole bunch of other agencies, up to about a dozen, across the border, and I took a look at some of the ones in Spokane as well just to see where the highs were and we're about 40 % behind in our average fees," said Heston.
Heston said the contract will result in small raises for firefighters to cover an increased cost of living, and that it includes a cheaper insurance plan that will save the department money. The department is also saving money by leaving two open positions vacant.