By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
RIVERVIEW – The process of hiring full-time firefighters and paramedics has begun, City Manager Doug Drysdale said Nov. 9 during an online city council meeting, as he provided citywide project updates.
With the Nov. 3 passage of the fire protection and advanced life support millage, Drysdale said the city now has the long-term funding needed to hire eight full-time firefighters and paramedics.
“I did speak to the (fire) chief and the HR director last week, and told them that I want them to set up the interviews for the people that are interested in the full time, and that is scheduled for next week,” he said. “I also told them that we have to backfill our part-time positions, and told them that I want them to look at hiring firefighter/EMT specialists.”
Drysdale said this is a chance to increase the staffing pool and get the ambulance service running like it should be.
“I am tired of spending the money each month for that ambulance service, so I have instructed them to get the advertisement out tomorrow,” he said.
Drysdale said a number of the part-time employees have been interested in becoming full-time, but they were concerned about what would happen if a millage didn’t pass.
Drysdale did note that the city did not receive the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant it was hoping to receive. SAFER grants are provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“Now that we’ve got this 10-year millage, we are ready to move forward, and we’re going to be going guns a-blazing, and hopefully we will get the roster filled up pretty quickly,” Drysdale said.
He said city officials have not yet heard back from county officials about the petitions filed for maintenance and improvements to the Frank and Poet Drain, and they are waiting to learn the dates of the hearings.
Drysdale said they have signed the term sheet and returned it to the developer for the renewable gas plant at the landfill, and Finance Director Rob McMahon is working with the city attorney on a draft contract to send to them.
“Our goal is to have everything wrapped up and signed by the end of this calendar year,” he said. “We do know that they are in a hurry to get this done because they want to be able to report this on their year-end time line.”
Drysdale said a presentation has been made to the Downriver Utility Wastewater Authority about a capital improvement plan to connect a new relief sewer to its system, using information from a Stormwater, Asset Management and Wastewater grant program study to alleviate basement backups in the Huntington Meadows subdivision.
He said DUWA’s questions were mostly about how the proposal would affect the overall flow of its system.
Drysdale said Ash Stevens LLC of Riverview, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, did get approval for a $34 million expansion to its property, and some of the demolition permits have already been approved.
“We have not heard back from them as to whether there is any tax incentive they are looking for,” he said. “If we do get that, we will evaluate them and bring a recommendation forward to council.”
Drysdale also noted that Riverview Police Chief Clifford Rosebohm retired Nov. 6, with Lt. Richard Troup serving as interim chief until a permanent replacement is found.