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Editorial: Raise for firefighters makes sense

Rosemount firefighters would have trouble buying a decent lunch for what they're paid for responding to a call. They couldn't get their car washed, or even buy a gallon of gas.

That appears to be changing, though, and we think that's a good thing.

The Rosemount City Council is considering changes in its 2012 budget that would give firefighters a raise from the $2 they currently receive for responding for a call.

That's almost nothing for dealing with calls that can come at any time of the day or night, and that can involve rushing into burning buildings to save lives or property.

Rosemount firefighters put themselves through significant inconvenience to protect the residents of Rosemount. And while they sign up as volunteers - fire chief Scott Aker said many new recruits are surprised to learn they are paid at all - it is worth recognizing their efforts with more than the cost of a fancy cup of coffee.

Firefighters get a pension when they retire, but they are not paid for training or community events like Night to Unite.

Aker suggested an increase in firefighter pay could help with recruiting. The department currently has 45 members and has had trouble reaching its goal of 50 firefighters.

The Rosemount Fire Department has been getting busier as the city has grown, and it will likely continue to get busier as development continues. The University of Minnesota's UMore Park project could add 25,000 or more new residents over the next 25 years. The need for dedicated firefighters will only continue to grow.

Firefighters do a lot to protect Rosemount, it's property and its residents. They deserve more than $2 per call for their efforts.