Scarborough council OKs 3% increase in firefighter, EMS salaries

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SCARBOROUGH — The Town Council on Wednesday unanimously approved a 3 percent increase in salaries for all Fire Department and EMS employees.

Firefighters and EMS workers did not receive a raise last year.

The new contracts contain a no-layoff clause that would prevent the town from laying off any firefighters or EMS staff for the next year.

The original contract called for a salary increase of 6 percent. The remaining 3 percent will be added into the contract next year. This would mean a reduction in expenditures of 2.81 percent this year and an increase of 3.3 percent next year, for a net difference of less than 1 percent over two years.

“They recognized they needed to be part of the solution, not part of the problem,” Town Manager Tom Hall said.

In addition to accepting the contracts, Fire Chief Michael Thurlow said the town will almost certainly receive a federal Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant worth more than $448,000 to fund four new fire/emergency positions.

While he has not yet received the official letter of confirmation, he said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency grant office sent a letter indicating the town passed the initial scoring and was positively ranked through the peer review process, which is typically the final step before approval.

He also said he sent in the direct deposit form and that it was processed and returned earlier this week.

The grant would fully fund the four positions for two years, and then require the town to fund the positions for a third year.

Thurlow said the four positions were included in the town’s initial staffing plan four years ago, but had only partially been funded due to several years of budget cuts.

“We definitely need (the four positions) to stay on track,” he said. 

Small funding for uniforms and other employee expenses will be taken out of the department’s already approved budget. 

In other business, the council voted unanimously to approve a tax increment financing district development program amendment that will allow construction of a driveway to the former Konica Minolta building on Route 1.

The change would require part of the median to be removed and a two-way turn lane to be extended to allow traffic in and out of the driveway. The approved change will not affect the total cost for the town.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or