Whiteville Fire Chief David Yergeau wrestles daily with staffing and equipment issues that can impact everything from saving lives to how much homeowners and business owners pay in insurance premiums. While some relief is in sight for equipment, Yergeau sees no ready answers to staffing problems without an eventual tax increase. City Manager Darren Currie reluctantly agrees, saying the only way to avoid a tax increase would be to cut services in some other area.
The city uses a combination of full-time firefighters and part-time firefighters, who are paid but typically respond to calls from their homes or businesses.
“I’ve been asking for more personnel in the budget ever since I got here eight years ago,” Yergeau says. “I know it’s a difficult problem for city council to solve. And payroll is a recurring item.