Since two of his firefighters suffered minor burns at a fire this summer, the plan of new Joseph Fire Chief Tom Clevenger to gradually replace the department's turnouts - yellow fireproof uniforms -has gained urgency.

He approached the Joseph City Council last week with a comprehensive resolution, which the council passed at the end of the Sept. 3 meeting. It raises the rates of rural fire contracts to $120 per residential customer (up from $100) and $150 for commercial customer outside the city limits (up from $120). Also included in the resolution, 2009-14 was the standardization of many rural contract fees, based on a more realistic assessesment of what supplies, man hours, equipment and gasoline actually cost; reduction of the "free" hours provided under the contract from two to one; and a range change from "within a nine mile radius of Joseph" to "at the discretion of the Joseph Fire Chief or his designee."

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