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Joint fire districts left out of COVID-19 relief funds

Leaders of four Mahoning Valley fire districts say their departments got short changed when pandemic relief funds were handed out.

A Valley congressman says that’s because those who assembled the plan were more concerned about bigger cities than smaller communities.

The fire chiefs and a clerk say that stinks.

For example, with 2,300 calls responded to last year in the Canfield area by the Cardinal Joint Fire District, Chief Don Hutchison said he’s not pleased that the district only received $28,000 in COVID-19 relief funds — from Canfield Township.

While Hutchison is grateful for the infusion from the township since his staff put lives on the line during the coronavirus pandemic, other area joint fire districts in Mahoning and Trumbull counties received no direct COVID-19 relief funds.

“We received one half of what was left over from Canfield Township. There was a lot of money provided to cities, townships and counties but the state officials overlooked the fire districts,” he said — noting the district received no funds from Canfield city.

“It was a surprise that the state officials did not include the joint fire districts, We were in need of another ambulance with all the people we were transporting. With all that the fire districts do — just like a city or township fire department — you would think we would have received funds,” Hutchison said.

Read MORE about this apparent oversight in Sunday’s VINDICATOR.

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