Knoxville — According to the Human Resources Department for the City of Grand Rapids, Mich., fire lieutenants, such as the man selected to Knoxville's next fire chief, Nick Bonstall, earn $69,263 annually, compared to the $59,000 he will receive here.
Bonstall told the Journal-Express earlier this week that moving to Knoxville, with a salary of $55,000, would not make it feasible for him to move to Knoxville.
"Feasibly, there wouldn't have been a way for us to do it," Bonstall said. The median household income in Holland, Mich., where Bonstall resides, is $40,647. Knoxville's median household income is $39,358.
Bonstall has been working as a firefighter for 15 years, since he was 17 years old. He has lived in the Grand Rapids suburb all of his life.
"It's a big move," Bonstall said. Though the move is large, chances are Knoxville and Marion County will not make him homesick.
"It reminds me of home so much," he said. For instance, Holland is a strong Dutch community, which also celebrates a Tulip Time. To be reminded of that, he will just have to cross the Des Moines River.
Holland also has its own race track. Bonstall said he was once involved in racing, having driven go-karts and Late Models over the years.
"Racing is very near and dear to our family," Bonstall said.
Bonstall will be moving to Knoxville with his wife of seven years, Kristi, twin newborn daughters and a son. The couple began dating in high school. Both are eager to come to Knoxville to be a part of the community. Kristi has been a softball coach and into sports. She wants to try to get involved in local sports when they arrive. Knoxville City Manager Harold Stewart indicated that Bonstall should be able to take over the fire department in February 2013.