Struthers council passes 2018 budget despite fire station disagreement
City council approved an operating budget for 2018 at $11,915,235, with a general fund of $5,332,196.
The version of the budget passed Wednesday is identical to the budget proposed by Mayor Terry Stocker, with the exception that $50,000 earmarked for the construction of two vehicles bays onto the main fire station was moved into the capital improvement fund.
The fire station vehicle bays proved to be a sticking point for Councilman-at-Large Michael Patrick, who abstained from voting in favor of the budget.
“That fire station was built in 1942 and went into operation in 1943. Once those contractors get into that building they’re going to find a lot more work needs to be done,” Patrick said. “I worry that pursuing this project may result in the new fire building never getting built. If we rely on the public to fund the new station, they may look at the money we’re spending on this and not support it.”
The fire department’s squad truck currently is parked outside of the station, where it is subject to wear and tear from the elements. A weak load-bearing wall in the sublevels of the station prohibit the firefighters from parking the heavy trucks on that portion of the floor, which forces them to park the smaller truck outside. The planned addition would see both fire engines parked in the new bays and the squad truck parked in the station’s rear garage, which currently houses one of the engines.