Youngstown council accepted federal grant to offset hiring 4 firefighters
City council accepted a $398,793 federal grant that will help offset much of the cost of hiring of four city firefighters and should slow down overtime expenses.
The acceptance of the money today also 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, said fire Chief John J. O’Neill Jr.
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, he said.
“This will keep the truck operating,” O’Neill said. “Shutting it down is out of play. We’ll be able to run all 10 trucks and we don’t have to scale back on personnel.”
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 staffing level of 127 firefighters and the city is facing a potential budget crisis next year in its general fund.
The grant was initially for up to $398,793 with the city paying 25 percent of the cost of the new employees for the first two years and 65 percent in the third year.
However, O’Neill said Tuesday the city received a waiver from the federal government on the matching percentages while receiving the full amount of the grant.
Read more about the situation in Wednesday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.