YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Youngstown officials are beginning rolling fire station closures to save the city money through the end of the year.
The idea was discussed during a city council meeting Monday night.
Fire Chief Barry Finley said he has no other choice.
Starting Wednesday with Engine 9 on Midlothian Boulevard, Finley will order brief shutdowns of firehouses to avoid overtime within the department.
He said trucks will be shut down only if overtime is incurred. The trucks and stations will take turns going through the process every two weeks.
Mayor Tito Brown said the fire department has used its entire overtime budget in just five months — nearly 1,100% more than last year. Finley said there’s no money left beyond what he was allotted in the overtime account.
Firefighters have called off work more than 300 times since the first of the year — 78% more than the same period last year. Run calls are actually down about 14%.
If staffing is maintained without any overtime, then there will be no shutdowns.
The firefighters union is not happy with the station closures, saying it will put unnecessary risks on the community.