The Putnam Township Board of Trustees passed their 2017-18 budget with a strong mind towards supporting the fire department.

Supervisor Dennis Brennan commented how the township is in good shape financially, following the unanimous approval of their next budget which goes into effect July 1st. Brennan spoke of the biggest challenge he and the Board encountered in drafting the final plan, with it being the fire department. The fire department accounts for roughly half of Putnam Township’s budget. Brennan said that Fire Chief Greg Amberguy wants to do everything he can to help the community but they have to balance it with the realities of the numbers and incoming revenue they have to work with. In the end, he stated that they went with the most important part of the department, that being it’s personnel. As for that, the previously submitted budget allotted for a 3% pay increase to officers and a 2% increase to hourly staff.

The Fire Chief explained this was to be able to pay overtime on holidays to keep the department staffed. Brennan said he received a late phone call from Trustee Norm Klein asking if they couldn’t give the same raise to all employees across the board. The Board of Trustees believed this was a worthy cause and made the adjustment on the budget. Brennan said that now they need to start looking at ways to get more money into the fire department’s capital improvement fund. He pointed out that the trucks and equipment only have a certain life span and that they’d like to have the money available to deal with needed repairs and replacements without needing to ask for an additional millage. (MK)