Our View: County firefighter raises are deserved

After months of debate, Clark County firefighters have finally received a much-deserved pay raise.

The proposal, developed during a three-hour meeting of the fire department committee in August, saw firefighters, lieutenants, captains and battalion chiefs all get a two-grade increase in the county pay plan.

For firefighters, starting salaries will increase from $28,799 to $31,751 annually. Lieutenants will now start at $35,005 annually instead of $31,751. Captains will go from $33, 338 to $36,755 and battalion chiefs will see a boost from $35,005 to $38,593.

The proposal also calls for the fire marshal and training officer position, which carries the rank of major, will be the same pay grade as battalion chiefs.

Raises of this type can help recruit new, qualified firefighters to the community, and more importantly, retain the already well-trained and qualified firefighters working for the county.

The proposal approved Wednesday will add $133,755 to the budget for the year.

That is money well-spent.

For the job they do, firefighters are grossly underpaid, much like other first responders and public servants. Along with our police officers, deputies and other first responders, firefighters put their lives on the line day in and day out to ensure the safety of the community.

They sacrifice for the greater good, and yet they can expect to make about $15 per hour starting out. Such sacrifice is priceless.

Firefighters are worth so much more, but these raises are a start.

There is still much more work to do to in the department, and much of that work will come after the county’s fire study with the Bluegrass Area Development District is complete.

This study will likely reveal other areas of concern that will need to be addressed.

Until then, it is nice to finally see some sort of action taken on a matter that has been in the court’s hands for several months.