· Three stations previously earmarked for closure — 10, 6 and 5 — will shut down starting Tuesday. But city officials announced Friday that additional stations, beginning with Station 2 at 415 Belden Ave. NE, might also be shuttered.
CantonRep.com / Michael Balash |
Canton City fire stations 10, 6 and 5 are scheduled to close Tuesday, but more stations also may face shutdowns in the near future.
- By Alison Matas
CantonRep.com staff writer
Posted Jan. 8, 2016 at 1:50 PM
Updated Jan 8, 2016 at 1:59 PM
More fire stations could end up closing because of the city’s strained budget.
Three stations previously earmarked for closure — 10, 6 and 5 — will shut down starting Tuesday. But city officials said Friday that additional stations, beginning with Station 2 at 415 Belden Ave. SE, also might be shuttered.
Safety Director Andrea Perry said the announcement was meant to serve as a warning to the public that if there are days when the department is short on staffing, fewer stations will be open.
It’s estimated Canton needs to cut more than $4 million from its main operating fund, which pays for fire services. A final certification of how much revenue is available to the city in 2016 wasn’t finished Friday.
Canton City Council approved a temporary budget late last year that slashes all line items by 7.5 percent and must approve a permanent budget in consultation with the new administration by March 30.
Mayor Thomas M. Bernabei said Friday that no final decisions have been made about the budget, including whether there will be layoffs. But, he added, the anticipated shortfall is so large “it is going to require, in all probability, personnel cuts in some fashion across the board.”
Figures about how the station closures will affect the fire department’s budget weren’t immediately available Friday.
Fire officials presented their original plan for the fire stations to Canton City Council in November and held community meetings at the end of the year.
They outlined the following changes:
The engine company at Station 10 at 4632 Vernon Ave. NW would move to Station 4 at 2502 Cleveland Ave. NW.
Station 6 at 2621 Harmont Ave. NE, followed by Station 5 at 3701 Tuscarawas St. W., would be the first stations to brown out or close each day if there weren’t enough people working to staff them.
The move was designed to make station closures consistent — rather than rotational — and to close those stations in the areas of the city with the smallest concentrations of fires, officials said.
A previous Repository analysis of structure fires in the city showed that in 2015, the fewest structure fires occurred near stations 10, 6 and 5, located in wards 8, 6 and 3.
The same fire map indicates Station 2, located in Ward 4, is closer to the edge of the city’s boundaries than some of the remaining open stations, but also is near Tuscarawas Street E. and some places south of U.S. Route 30 — both areas that saw multiple fires last year.
About 2 percent of the calls the department received in 2015 were for fires, the analysis showed. There’s no medic unit at Station 2.
If that station closes, too, the city will have half of its fire stations open each day.