Council's responsibilities go beyond fire department
The comments of Salem firefighter Mike Burns have prompted this letter after months of this type of animosity. According to local newspapers, Burns "expressed disappointment and anger" at the Columbiana Common Pleas Court judge's recent ruling. Why always so combative when anyone else "wins?" And who says it's winning? Or losing?
Several in the fire department have verbally vilified council people with false accusations, yet I have not seen council retaliate in this way. It seems they have only presented indisputable facts. All citizens can (as I did) ask for and scrutinize the city budget and determine for themselves the financial bind with which we are faced. When the judge ruled "against council," they in good faith, waited and deferred the action they were prepared to take, until the judge's final ruling.
Council should be applauded for having the forethought, courage and tenacity to do what we elected them to do. Acting unanimously, they are working to keep our city solvent and provide a secure future for our children, not taking the easy way out.
This issue of fiscal responsibility needs to be understood. By allotting over 20 percent of the budget ($1.2 million) for the fire department, the whole city, including the police department, parks and recreation, streets, etc., are being held hostage by one department. Our streets are in horrific condition, the parks are ailing, other city services are waning and if we continue as we've been, more services will have to be sacrificed on the altar of our fire department.
Volunteer fire departments are effective -- we just have to look all around us at Perry Township, Canfield, Poland, etc. They are a dedicated group of well-trained professionals. This is in no way meant to be derogatory to our fire department, but the facts speak for themselves. Our fire department has gone overboard in their demands and can no longer be afforded without detrimental results to the whole city.
This reminds me of years ago when a similar doom and gloom message was pronounced upon the city if they failed to continue to subsidize the huge stipend they were paying to keep an ambulance service in town. The threat then was that if they failed to do so, no ambulance service would be available to residents and a serious health and safety issue would develop. Well, that council made the tough decision and, guess what, not only did other ambulance service companies come, but the original service stayed. The doom and gloom never materialized. And, by looking at other fire districts that have been created, we see that they too are operating successfully.
Many people I speak with around town are in agreement. It's time more of us expressed our feelings by standing up and admitting that we support council in its difficult stance. This will keep our city in the black and restore many much needed services that have fallen by the wayside. That way, the benefit comes to the majority of us, not just one entity. How about standing up and being counted?
One woman does her part
I saw on TV and in the paper where people are planting flowers in downtown Youngstown and everyone thinks this is great, and it is great. But did you know there is a woman on the South Side who was so disgusted with a corner near Wilson High School she took it upon herself to do something about it. She received permission from the owner to clean it up and she proceeded to call the city for help, but the only one to respond was councilman Swierz. He recruited some of his Kiwanis members and they helped move the large rhododendrons from the old Taft School that was being knocked down at the time. And she received donations from the Miller Street neighbors and the Fabrizio Funeral Home for the peat moss, but the flowers came from her and her sisters' yards.
She keeps it up as well as she can but it is hard with no water supply. She has to carry the water from her home. It gets harder each day (I forgot to mention this woman is in her 80s). She doesn't expect anything for doing it, but I think she should receive some sort of recognition for her hard work. Her name is Elvera Lucansky and I know all of this to be true because she is my sister.