By HOWARD BALABAN firstname.lastname@example.org
Medina Journal-Register — Medina Fire Chief Todd Zinkievich spoke to the Medina Village Board Monday night, and he was granted authorization to pursue a grant that would pay for two full-time firefighters.
Known as a “SAFER” grant (staffing for adequate firefighter emergency response), it would move the total number of firefighters on staff from 13 to 15. Zinkievich said the increase in manpower would be a great help to the department.
Pointing to a study that said the department should have 17 full-timers to handle 1,700 calls annually, he said last year 13 firefighters handled 2,700.
“We’re 100 calls over that pace this year compared to last year,” Zinkievich said. Having two more firefighters on staff can drastically reduce the department’s overtime costs, he added.
The grant could possibly fund as many as four firefighters, but Zinkievich hinted at shooting for a grant the department had a better chance at getting.
The grant, if awarded, would run for two years. Zinkievich estimated that by the end of the grant, the Medina Fire Department will have saved around $90,000 through a combination of increased revenue and decreased overtime costs. In order to keep the two firefighters, he said the department would only need to find $30,000.
To better improve the department’s chances of winning the grant, the board approved Zinkievich using a grant writer at a cost not to exceed $3,500.
In other board news, trustees briefly discussed a proposed local law that could impose a tax on transient businesses. The board will finalize the language of the law at its next meeting on August 24 and has scheduled a public hearing on it at its first September meeting, on September 9.
The board agreed the language of the proposed law must be “seriously considered” because of the visiting businesses’ impact on the local economy. For example, the trustees agreed the annual Thomas the Train appearance could fall under the transient business label, and the useful engine’s yearly appearance has an undeniable economic effect.