About Local 4453
The story of the Maumelle Professional Firefighters Association begins in 2003, when then-Mayor Burch Johnson proposed the first-ever sales tax for the City of Maumelle. The community had doubled in size over the previous decade and Mayor Johnson knew his growing city needed a new source of revenue.
At the time, Maumelle was served by a Department of Public Safety, which was responsible for police, fire and non-transport EMS services. Because growth of the DPS had not kept pace with the ever-increasing population, a working fire stripped the city of police protection
A number of uses for the sales tax were initially suggested, but Maumelle firefighters proposed the money be dedicated to the split of the Maumelle Department of Public Safety into separate police and fire departments. Earlier in the year, former Fire Chief George Glenn had prepared multiple proposals at the request of the mayor to split the DPS but none of these included a funding mechanism.
The Sales Tax
Mayor Johnson first discussed the possibility of a 1% sales tax with the city council in October 2003. He also met with members of the community to generate interest in the topic as Maumelle had never had a city sales tax. Members of the fire division began to collect data that would support spending a portion of any possible tax on creating a fire department.
In November 2003, Engineers Drew Nichols and Michael Cossey presented the firefighters’s data to the city council. Their presentation included a survey of nine other cities of similar size and/or population as Maumelle. It revealed, among other things, that Maumelle had the fewest number of career firefighters; had the fewest career firefighters per 1,000 population; and was the only city of its size with a single fire station.
On November 17, the city council unanimously passed Ordinance #494 and Resolution #2003-38. The ordinance called for a special election of the people for a 1% sales tax. The resolution provided a list of priorities for allocating revenue if the tax was created. At the top of the list was the separation of the Department of Public Safety.
Over the next three months, Maumelle’s five career firefighters would lead a crusade that culminated in the passage of the first-ever sales tax in city history. Ten months after the sales tax was passed, the Maumelle Fire Department was born. The Maumelle Professional Firefighters — even before organizing as Local 4453 — have played an instrumental role in the creation of the fire department and it’s growth over the last decade. As recent as 2002, there were only four career firefighters in the city. Today, there are 27 and all are members of Local 4453.