BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — The Brevard County Commission is using remaining CARES Act funds to make it possible to reward firefighters who responded to calls for service and also put out fires during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What You Need To Know
- Brevard to pay firefighters who worked service call, put out fires during pandemic
- Full-time firefighters will receive $1,500 each
- Payments to part-time firefighters will be prorated
- County was able to move around funds because of CARES Act aid
Full-time firefighters will receive get $1,500 extra as a type of hazard pay, and those who worked part-time will get a prorated amount when the one-time payments start going out at the beginning of the year.
CARES Act funding will make the payments possible. Each county received $5 million to use as it sees fit to meet needs resulting from the pandemic, and those funds must be spent by the end of 2020.
“We are reimbursing yourself as a county for expenses that qualify for the CARES Act, which frees up that same amount of money to be used for any purpose we want,” Brevard District 2 Commissioner Bryan Lober said.
Some firefighters feel overworked, underpaid, and somewhat unappreciated, despite putting their lives on the line to save others on a daily basis, Brevard County Firefighters Union President Michael Bramston said.
“We lose more people than we are able to hire at this point,” Bramston said. “As the union president, I will absolutely say it’s because of money.”
Since the recession 12 years ago, Space Coast firefighters are not receiving competitive pay, Bramston said. The hazard pay is a step in the right direction, he said.
“[It’s] not a lot of money in the big picture, but [it is] a lot of money on an individual basis,” Bramston said. “It means a lot to them. It’s the difference between a modest holiday season, putting tires on a beat-up truck.”
Lober also proposed allocating funds to feed children in schools, as well as $40,000 for a Titusville food pantry, $25,000 for efforts to help those who aged out of the foster system with housing and employment, and more.