Youngstown fire station closures begin Sunday
YOUNGSTOWN — With fire department overtime spiraling out of control, the fire chief decided, beginning Sunday, to start closing stations on a rotating basis for two-week periods to rein in spending.
In a surprise move today, Chief Barry Finley announced at a city council finance committee meeting the department would temporarily close stations and use the three or so firefighters who would work there at other stations to make up for a staffing shortfall to save overtime.
The decision, Finley said, was because the department has spent $105,854 of its annual $108,000 overtime budget. In just the past 10 days, the department spent about $22,000 on overtime, he said.
The first station to close is No. 15 on Schenley Avenue and McCollum Road on the West Side, Finley said. It was to close last week when the chief initially decided to shut down stations on a rotating basis to stop overtime expenses. But that decision was stopped the night before the station was to close.
Instead, Finley was leaning toward using most of an $85,000 fund to replace the rusted frame of a firetruck toward overtime costs. Council objected to that move, but some changed their mind after Finley on Thursday discussed a long-term plan for raising revenue for his department. However, none of that money would be raised this year.
For the complete story, read Saturday’s Vindicator and Vindy.com