On Monday night, the New Middletown Village Council approved giving pay raises to attract the experienced volunteer firefighters it needs.

The village said it has been seriously lacking those volunteers in the past few months.

Mayor Harry Kale said Fire Chief Curt Brown and village council agreed on the raises during a special council meeting Monday night.

Brown said paying experienced people will help keep their numbers up. Part of the problem right now is sometimes, the chief pays to train inexperienced recruits and then they don’t stay on for very long.

“Instead of me spending $1,800 to send somebody away to school and etc., etc., etc., put an incentive in there or a bonus sign-on, maybe get someone with the cards and I’m further ahead, to be honest with you. At that point, I got experienced people that are going to make calls,” Brown said.

New hires who have already been trained as a firefighter will get $250 annual signing bonus for the first two years as long as they stick around for three years.

The New Middletown Fire Department is still looking for more volunteers. If you’re interested, you can pick up a form at the station on Main Street or call them at 330-542-2846.

Also decided on Monday, the fire department will start charging more for fire and EMS calls, and Brown will get a salary raise of $100 a month. Other leadership positions and fire inspectors also got raises.

Springfield Township Fire Chief Matt Gebhardt was at the meeting to let council know they would be willing to talk about combining as a joint fire district.