A “Special to The Cambrian” article that appeared online last week grossly misinformed our community about Measure A-18 by stating that the “real costs of this measure are likely to be higher than advertised.” The Cambria Firefighters IAFF Local 4635 will now clarify how the proposed tax assessment of Measure A-18 will fund three firefighter positions. Admittedly, there is much confusion surrounding this measure, and our intent is to educate our community by presenting the facts.
The ballot measure, as written, is estimated to generate $378,025 of revenue from a property tax assessment of $62.15 for each parcel in Cambria. By calculating these three firefighter positions at the very top step in the pay scale, the dollar amount of $378,025 was reached and supported by IAFF 4635. (Note these three positions were funded for the past two years by the FEMA SAFER grant for a total of $396,525). This also accounts for retirement, health benefits, overtime, as well as specialty pay such as paramedic incentive pay. Longevity pay no longer exists for employees hired after June 25, 2015.
By budgeting these positions at the top step of the pay scale and the highest possible health insurance rates, this ensures the positions will be properly funded. All three positions will come in at the first step, for an annual cost of $260,283. This results in a net savings of $117,741 the first year. The surplus of funds will be saved to help offset the potential negotiated pay scale increases, increased benefit costs, and inflation.
As the measure is written, these funds will only be used for the financing of these three positions and will not be used for other purposes. Although, over time, these firefighters will receive step increases and pay raises, the likelihood of having all three firefighter positions filled with top step employees, although possible, is very slim.
Therefore, by planning the assessment to cover the three positions at the highest possible rates, it is clear that the actual costs of these positions will be maintained without generating a budgetary shortfall. Our Local encourages anyone seeking further supporting documentation or with any questions to contact us at any time.
Contact IAFF Local 4635 President Michael Burkey by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.