West Memphis firefighters could get raises

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. - - West Memphis firefighters could have thicker wallets next year.

The fire department is proposing raises of six to 10 percent, depending on the firefighter's grade. That means the average firefighter stands to make $2,400 to $4,000 more.

"This is the biggest raise I've ever heard of us getting," firefighter/paramedic Jonathon Hollis says.

Assistant Chief Jeff Jones says West Memphis firefighters currently make about 15 percent less than firefighters in comparable size cities.

"The past year or two we've really lost a lot of personell to other fire departments," Assistant Chief Jones says.

Hollis says a raise like this would make a difference and maybe help with recruitment.

"It's a start, definitely," he says.

The department is also requesting money so it can replace an extremely old ambulance and fire truck.

"I mean, we need to be out that door in less than ten minutes and if we've got a truck that can't do that, that's not good for the citizens of West Memphis," Assistant Chief Jones says.

Altogether, the requested budget increases total nearly $1 million.

"If this goes through this will be our largest budget that we've ever had to work with," Assistant Chief Jones says.

All of this will ultimately have to be approved by the city council. One councilwoman told us she's confident the budget increases will pass.

The council has until the end of January to decide.

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