PRINCETON—Firefighter overtime dominated Princeton Fire Territory board trustee discussion Monday.
Fire Chief Mike Pflug reported the department has already spent $52,000 for overtime pay through April.
PFT board member Buddy Rogers raised concern over the number, noting the approved budget for overtime was originally set at $145,000.
Pflug said a few factors contributed to higher overtime figures, including time off for bereavement and a vicious flu season.
"We have had a lot more fires this year than we have had in the past,” Pflug added.
"On top of that we have had four people in the department with family members who have died, which added bereavement days as well as a significant flu season with more people calling in sick—these are things you can't really plan for."
Pflug estimated the department is looking at around $195,000 in overtime by the end of the year.
He says so far, he's saved around $6,000 by continuing to work shifts on the truck in addition to his administrative responsibilities as chief.
"We sat down as a group and put a budget together and (Pflug) agreed that he could meet that number,” said Rogers.
Pflug said when they agreed on the $145,000 figure for the overtime, that would be a “bare-bones” figure.
“We did not put a budget together thinking nothing could go wrong,” Rogers replied. “I think we are going to get to the end of the year and we are going to have a bust.”
“I’m not so sure we are going to have a bust, I don’t think we are at that point yet,” replied board member Merle Bryant.
Pflug said he would continue to monitor overtime hours and board members agreed to revisit the issue again in June.
In other business, a bid for concrete work at Fire Station 2 was approved to be completed by Pohl Concrete Construction of Fort Branch at $15,500.