Sparks Council Make Decision On Firefighters

City of Sparks, Nevada
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The Sparks City Council has decided to juggle existing firefighters to staff a new fire station in Spanish Springs.

The council will decide in the next few months where to cut city services to come up with the estimated $600,000 that will be needed in overtime pay to staff the new station for one year, council members decided after a day-long retreat Wednesday.

Under a plan developed by Fire Chief Lee Leighton, the city will use existing staff and pay overtime to fill needed positions and fire engine crews will be reduced to three instead of four.

City officials said more firefighters will be hired and engine staffing levels reinstated as revenues allow.

Sparks voters in June rejected a property tax increase to hire more firefighters to staff the new fire station in Wingfield Springs, expected to open in October 2004.

Running fire trucks with only three staff has been criticized by the firefighters union in the past. Federal safety standards recommend four firefighters per engine.