City authorizes more funds for overtime for fire department, transit

A view of the Columbus Fire Department crest on the side of a fire truck in Columbus, Indiana. Mike Wolanin | The Republic

COLUMBUS, Ind. — City officials have authorized increasing funds earmarked for overtime in both the fire and transit departments.

The Columbus City Council passed the second reading of an ordinance amending salaries and wages for city employees.

The amendment increases the unscheduled overtime budget at the Columbus Fire Department from $190,000 to $230,000 this year. At Columbus Transit, the overtime limit increases from $44,649 to $69,649.

“We are not requesting additional funds, because within the 100 levels of both departments there are sufficient funds to cover these increases,” said City Director of Finance, Operations and Risk Jamie Brinegar. He stated at a previous meeting that these changes will be sent to the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance for approval.

At that time, Brinegar said both departments had already reached the overtime limits approved in the 2021 budget and “within the next month we could probably go over those amounts.”

As of Sept. 30, unplanned overtime wages at the Columbus Fire Department had reached $167,780 nearly twice the amount incurred during the same period in 2019, when unplanned overtime was $86,066, according to city records.

Overtime wages at Columbus Transit had reached $42,362 at the end of September, about 1.5 times higher than during the same nine-month period in 2019, when overtime wages totaled $26,742.

For the complete story, see Friday’s Republic.