Findlay firefighters take a hit from tax revenue shortfall

Reported by Justin Michaels email
Posted by Kate Oatis email

FINDLAY (WTOL) - Cities all across our area are being faced with budget cuts, including Findlay.

Indeed, 11 Findlay firefighters could soon be laid off because of a tax revenue shortfall.

Some feel the cuts could negatively impact public safety.

"Eventually something's going to happen and God help'em if it does," said Matt Cooper, president of IAFF Local 381. "We're concerned about the public at this point."

Cooper says he understands the city needing to make cuts, but believes laying off firefighters is a bad idea.

"There's only two fire stations on the east side of town and the Martin Luther King Bridge is being fixed right now so if a truck from the west side of town wanted to get over here they're going to have to go over railroad tracks and if there's a train, there may not be anybody that shows up," Cooper said.

Station 3 is the oldest station in Findlay, one of only four. Losing that station, Cooper says, and losing 11 firefighters and possibly seven more to retirement over the next year equals a 25 percent cut in the firefighting force.

That is a public safety concern -- and a firefighter safety concern as well, Cooper says.

"We usually run to a house fire with three engines and a ladder. By cutting this station out of the equation, I don't know what the command staff's going to do," Cooper said.

Cooper also believes Findlay residents need to prepare.

"Buy extra smoke detectors, check your batteries. Times are going to get tough. There's a possibilty that when you call 911, nobody is going to show up."

These aren't the only cuts planned in Findlay. They're looking to cut 13 police officers as well, all in the effort to cut $1.4 million from the budget because of decreasing tax revenue.

We tried contracting city leaders for their take, but they did not get back to us.