By Travis Gettys
The Cincinnati Enquirer
BELLEVUE - A fire department budget that eliminates an assistant chief position and provides a pay raise for firefighters won unanimous approval Tuesday.
The Bellevue-Dayton Fire Board voted 6-0 to approve a budget for the 2004-2005 fiscal year, which begins July 1.
Administrators from both cities charged the board with balancing the budget for the joint department, created in a 2002 merger.
Officials gave the fire board, composed of two council members and one citizen from each city, two options: borrow more money or eliminate the assistant chief position filled by former Bellevue fire chief John Daly.
"It was very tough," said board chairman Ed Riehl, a Bellevue firefighter for 11 years. "I consider him a friend and a mentor."
The budget plan and specifics of Daly's retirement package must now be approved by each city's council.
Eliminating the position filled by Daly, who declined comment, allowed the board to institute a 4 percent pay raise for firefighters.
"Firefighters that are going out and fighting fires get the raise they deserve," said board member Tom Ratterman, a Bellevue city councilman.
The board also voted unanimously to refinance at a lower interest rate the department's deficit, which Fire Chief Denny Lynn placed at $173,000.
Administrators from both Bellevue and Dayton agreed to take over some of Daly's administrative duties, Ratterman said.
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