Grass Valley turns open positions into needed equipment |

Grass Valley turns open positions into needed equipment

John Orona
Staff Writer

Grass Valley public safety agencies are turning their unfilled positions into tools of the trade.

When the city passed its fiscal budget earlier this year it anticipated filling five firefighter/paramedic positions that still remain vacant. Tuesday, the Grass Valley City Council voted unanimously to turn some of the money not spent on those positions into about $85,000 worth of equipment.

The money is being pulled from the city’s Measure E fund, a half-cent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2018 that is meant to fund general city expenditures.

“We’ve identified the fact that conservatively there is about $150,000 worth of salary savings from not filling those positions,” Grass Valley/Nevada City Fire Chief Mark Buttron said. “So we’re reallocating funds from salary savings into items that we need.”

The council allocated $25,000 for a third Zoll Cardiac Monitor in anticipation of its paramedic program, which will place one at each fire station.

The city also approved $20,000 for five additional radios; $20,000 in replacement personal protective equipment such as helmets, goggles and boots; and $20,000 for an upgraded extrication tool commonly known as The Jaws of Life.

The department already carries extrication tools in each fire engine, but this upgraded version would be battery powered, making the hydraulic fluid and gasoline needed for the current model unnecessary, and will come at a discounted price.

The remaining $65,000 — out of the total $150,000 — is as of yet unused.

Separate from the $150,000 in salary savings, the Grass Valley Police Department also found savings that they will use to upgrade security equipment at the police station, allowing them to control access to sensitive areas within the station.

More than $33,000 will be transferred to pay for access door controls that supplement security at the station’s front door, back doors and evidence station, as well as to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations.

To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email or call 530-477-3229.

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