Council accepts $400K grant to save firefighting positions

YOUNGSTOWN — City council voted today to accept a $398,793 federal grant that will help offset the hiring of four city firefighters with the expectation it will slow down overtime costs.

The acceptance of the money means the city won’t cut back on personnel and a truck at Fire Station No. 2 on West Indianola Avenue on the South Side.

Without the impending new hires – which will bring the department from 123 to 127 firefighters – the city was almost certainly going to be forced to cut back on personnel and a truck. The department is already well over its overtime budget for the year.

Some city council members expressed concern at an Aug. 31 meeting that taking the grant would be an issue because it obligates the city to maintain a certain staffing level and the city is facing a potential budget crisis next year in its general fund.

The legislation approved by council at today’s special meeting also authorized the board of control to enter into any contracts and agreements to use the grant money. The board of control – consisting of the mayor, finance director and law director – meets Thursday and could agree then to use the money to hire the firefighters.

For the complete story, read Wednesday’s Vindicator and WATCH

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