DAWSON COUNTY, Ga. – The Board of Commissioners made two major investments in public safety Thursday.
The first came during the voting session when commissioners approved a 15 percent across-the-board salary increase for paramedic/firefighters, a $20,000 educational incentive to pay for training to become certified as a paramedic and a $2 an hour stipend for paramedic/firefighters when they ride the med unit.
Additionally, commissioners will research how other incentives like life insurance benefits and retirement pay should be adjusted to help the county recruit and retain paramedics.
Commissioners also authorized the establishment of a pay scale that would reward applicants for their years of experience. An applicant with 10 years’ experience, for example, would receive a higher starting base pay than an applicant with only one year of experience.
The Board’s action came two weeks after Public Safety Director/Fire Chief Danny Thompson told commissioners the county is facing a dangerous shortage of paramedics. Thompson said he has six openings and only one job applicant in the last six months.
The second investment came when commissioners unanimously approved (with Commissioner Chris Gaines absent) the purchase of two new ambulances at a cost of approximately $395,000 each.
The rationale for ordering two is that it takes one year to build and deliver an ambulance and by the time it arrives, at least one more will be needed. The county now has five ambulances and three of those have more than 130,000 miles.
In other votes, the Board approved:
- ZA 21-04 – Kyle Woody’s request to rezone 1.5 acres of TMP 097-009 from RA (Residential Agriculture) to RSR (Residential Sub-Rural) for the purpose of subdividing the parcel per RSR guidelines of the parent parcel and building a primary residence;
- ZA 21-05 – Corey Gutherie’s request to rezone 6 acres of TMP 053-015 from RA (Residential Agriculture) to RRE (Residential Rural Estate) for the purpose of subdividing the parcel per RRE guidelines;
- ZA 21-06 – Larry Bishop’s request to rezone TMP 104-022 from RA (Residential Agriculture) to RSR (Residential Sub-Rural) for the purpose of subdividing the parcel per RSR guidelines;
- Reappointment of Don Cargill to the Library Board;
- Postponed consideration of Intergovernmental Agreement Between City of Dawsonville and Dawson County Concerning Trail Infrastructure for Pedestrian Access Between Main Street Park and Library.