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N.Y. FD faces rising costs due to retirements, injuries

Ogdensburg officials anticipate overtime costs estimated at almost $300K


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By Matt Curatolo
Watertown Daily Times

OGDENSBURG, N.Y. — The city of Ogdensburg may be facing additional costs for its fire department after it was announced that two additional firefighters may retire this year as well as several on and off-duty injuries to its staff.

In a report to City Council Monday, Comptroller Angela Gray said that the city budgeted for the known retirement of two firefighters this summer in the 2024 spending plan, but that two additional firefighters may be retiring, causing additional costs for paid accrued time and then the subsequent required overtime to backfill the positions.

Neither of those costs were budgeted.

“At the time of the budget we knew that there would be two retirees in the summer and so that is how we built this budget,” Gray said.

The fire department is facing three injuries as well, both on- and off-duty, that will impact the department’s budget.

According to Gray’s report, the monthly cost of a firefighter’s absence from their shift is approximately $9,100 in overtime due to minimum staffing and hazard pay costs.

“At a minimum, at this date it’s anticipated that the extra costs of overtime will cost the city almost $300,000,” Gray said, due to the pending retirements and injuries to staff.

Although the city hired six additional firefighters earlier this year, more would be needed with the new retirements. There are no firefighters to recruit, though, and the next civil service test has not been set, according to Gray.

“One of the challenges the city has is there are no firefighters on the civil service test to recruit so even if we had wanted to add them we don’t have that opportunity,” she said.

Mayor Michael J. Tooley asked for further information and projections of costs regarding overtime and staffing of the department that could be presented to City Council at a later date.

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