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By Shawn Roney/For The Richmond News
Wood Heights Fire Chief Lee O’Dell is campaigning to convert the Wood Heights Fire Department from an all-volunteer department to a paid and volunteer department – and one of his campaign stops was last Wednesday’s Board of Aldermen Meeting at Wood Heights City Hall.
As part of his department report to the board, O’Dell said the Wood Heights Fire Protection District Board had agreed to put two tax levy proposals on the Aug. 5 election ballot. One of them, Proposition 2, calls for a levy increase that “will allow us to go to a manned, staffed station 24/7,” he said.
According to a handout O’Dell shared, the levy would be 75 cents per $100 of assessed valuation – a 45-cent increase from the current levy, which the board has operated under for more than 20 years.
If approved, the fire chief’s position would be salaried at $37,000 per year, O’Dell told the audience. A firefighter’s starting annual salary would be $25,000. Moreover, under the proposal, the department would have six paid firefighters, with two on duty each shift, he said following his report.