Contract with casino will fund Wetumpka Fire Dept. - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Contract with casino will fund Wetumpka Fire Dept.

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The Wetumpka Fire Department is about to roll into something new and the fire chief couldn't be more excited. "I am excited, but time is running out and there is a lot to get done," Chief Greg Willis explained.

Wetumpka Mayor Jerry Willis says the money will come out to $1,970,000. With that amount of one-time money up front from the Poarch Creek Indians, plus $850,000 a year for the next three years, the fire department is set to hire 4 new full time firefighters.

Right now the department has two full time employees, two part-timers and 35 volunteers.

The Creeks are, in essence, paying for their own fire protection for the new casino and hotel currently under construction. Should there be an emergency Wetumpka firefighters will be there in no time considering the main fire station is located practically across the street.

"Part of this will be used to complete our renovations of the stations and help pay for a new fire truck already on order," said Mayor Willis.

Willis says the city and the Creeks negotiated for 10 months to reach the deal and it's a renewable deal, meaning the mayor sees no reason why the agreement won't be renewed every three years.

The average pay for those new firefighters will be a little more than $30,000 a year. Chief Willis says around 100 people have applied for those four positions.

"This is a big step forward for us," Willis said.

For the chief, there is little time to waste. The four new firefighters must be on board by December 15th, just in time for the casino opening.

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