$3M in Kettering CARES Act funds used for police, fire payrolls

KETTERING — Payrolls for police and firefighters are being supplemented with about $3 million in federal aid the city has received as a result of the coronavirus.

Kettering is using money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act for the salaries of what city records show are more than 200 personnel in those departments combined.

“It won’t cover the full cost of public safety salaries,” Kettering Assistant City Manager Steve Bergstresser said. “But we intend to use that” money “from the beginning of the pandemic through the end of the year.”

Kettering’s 2020 budget includes $26,758,000 for police and fire personnel combined, city records show.

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Bergstresser said “the vast majority” of the $3.1 million in Kettering CARES Act funds will go to finance salaries in the police and fire departments.

The ability to maintain the current level of safety forces has been a concern of cities for months. Kettering City Manager Mark Schwieterman said in an email there have no layoffs with those jobs, which - without CARES Act funding – “would have continued to be funded through the city’s general fund.”

Concern for funding safety forces was discussed this past spring – about a month after Ohio shutdowns were announced due to COVID-19 – by Kettering Mayor Don Patterson and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

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“The problem is we’re all faced with the same problem,” Patterson said in April during an Ohio Mayor’s Alliance conference call with media. “And that’s to be able to provide the services expected and – quite honestly – deserved.”

Kettering City Council last week approved the appropriation of $2.3 million from its special grants and programs fund for what Schwieterman called “phase II and phase III distributions” for police and fire.

About $783,000 had been allocated to public safety salaries earlier, Bergstresser said.

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The city’s 2020 budget shows the Kettering Police Department staffing at 120, including 67 patrol officers. Personnel accounts for $13,687,400, or 84.35% of its budget, city records state.

Along with the chief, the staff includes two captains, six lieutenants and 10 sergeants, according to the budget.

Staffing for the fire department this year is 84, including 57 firefighters, according to the budget. That consumes $13,070,600, or 81.81%.

Aside from the chief, the staff includes two assistant chiefs, five battalion chiefs, 15 captains and a civilian fire marshal.

But Schwieterman said Thursday updated information shows those annual payroll figures to be $14,277,800 for police and $12,562,300 for fire.

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