Campbell seeks levy for ambulance service
CAMPBELL — Officials have passed an emergency ordinance to place a 3.1-mill continuous property tax levy on the Nov. 7 general election ballot to address the lack of ambulance service in the city.
The levy would generate about $225,000 annually to allow officials to outsource and contract ambulance companies to offer coverage in the city of about 7,900, council president George Levendis said after Wednesday’s council meeting. Because of the coverage gap, the Campbell Fire Department has been handling many emergency calls, Levendis explained.
“We do not have enough money to run an ambulance,” he said.
The city would have to pay an estimated $1.6 million to $2 million to staff and run its own ambulance company, Levendis noted.
It would be premature at this time to say how much extra such a levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home annually, Levendis said.
Nevertheless, the challenges and difficulties a shortage of ambulance coverage creates is not restricted to any single area, he added.
“It’s not (just) a Campbell problem; it’s a Mahoning County problem and a state problem,” Levendis continued.
The Eagle Joint Fire District board, which serves neighboring Hubbard city and township, also voted Wednesday to have its attorney prepare legislation to proceed with placing a 4.1-mill continuous operating levy on the November ballot.
Rick Hernandez, fire board chairman, said the board and fire Chief Ron Stanish have been discussing millage options needed to get more firefighters and emergency medical technicians on each shift at the fire station.
During Wednesday’s Campbell council meeting, Levendis praised the fire department for how it has “stepped up to the plate” to provide emergency coverage in light of the ambulance shortage.
Levendis also noted that the city’s four full-time firefighters, as well as its auxiliary firefighters, will receive training to be certified emergency medical technicians. That process should take about six months to implement, he estimated.
“We know about the situation, and we’re trying to do the best we can with what we have to work with,” Levendis said.
SHEET & TUBE HOMES
Also at the session, city Law Director Brian Macala said he had spoken with Deb Flora, the Mahoning County Land Bank’s executive director, regarding demolishing several former Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. homes on Robinson Road and Blackburn Street.
Underscoring the need to take such action was a fire earlier this year in a vacant unit, Macala pointed out. City officials continue to say that many of the buildings are in deplorable condition, uninhabitable and dangerous, and are often used by drug dealers and squatters.
The most recent fires at the company homes broke out last month, destroying two buildings — one each on Ensley Drive and Booker Avenue. They were believed to have started around the same time, though no one was injured, fire Chief Stephen Dubic said at the time.
Macala noted that the Robinson Road units have to first undergo asbestos testing. Tests that had been conducted on the Blackburn Street homes showed “negligible” amounts of asbestos, he said, adding that buildings in other parts of the city also are on the demolition list.
In addition, Macala was recognized at Wednesday’s session because it marked the 500th meeting he’s attended since having been sworn into office in July 1996.
On Thursday, Mayor Bryan Tedesco toured the Blackburn Street and Robinson Road properties, saying that 23 individual apartments in row houses on Robinson Road and 14 such apartments on Blackburn are targeted for demolition. Each of the apartments in the two-story row houses is about 700 square feet, he noted.
Bids are to go out to perform the work, Tedesco said, adding that the city received permission from the State Historic Preservation Office in Columbus to raze the units.
In February, the office halted the demolition of some of the units so it could review photographs and information pertaining to them. In 1982, the Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. homes were placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, Tedesco announced his plans to conduct a town hall meeting at 6 p.m. June 14 in Roosevelt Park off Struthers-Liberty Road to allow attendees to discuss the city’s lack of ambulance service and other concerns.