July 23, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
74°F

Fire station woes a shock to city coffers

MEDINA — A misunder­standing led to what a member of City Council called “sticker shock” after hearing the city likely will need a new fire sta­tion parking lot and perhaps a new fire engine as well.

Fire Chief Robert Painter reported to the finance com­mittee that Fire Department’s Station 1 parking lot is quickly deteriorating and several of the catch basins have collapsed and no longer drain runoff from storm water.

The parking lot, which was built in the early 1990s along with the station off Reagan Parkway, was not built to han­dle the heavy fire trucks, Mayor Dennis Hanwell said.

Twenty years ago the city did not contract with inspectors to evaluate construction projects as they do now, Hanwell said.

The parking lot would cost an estimated $127,000 to fix, according to City Engineer Patrick Patton. Painter informed Council he did not have enough money in his department’s budget to repave the lot.

When At-large Councilman John Coyne asked Painter why he did not budget for the park­ing lot’s repair in his five-year budget plan, Painter said he previously had been told that funds for public building repairs would come from a general public buildings fund.

That statement surprised Council members, who said there was not enough money in the public buildings fund to cover the parking lot on top of other projects already bud­geted.

“This is a thing you have to plan for, this happened over time,” Coyne said at the meet­ing.

On Wednesday, Painter said he had brought up the issue at least twice with the previous administration.

After the meeting, Painter privately discussed the issue with Council.

“It was a communication thing and the changing of the guard,” Painter said.

Painter surprised Council again by telling them the city likely would have to purchase another full-time fire engine for Montville Township’s future safety services center.

Council had assumed that one of the city’s fire engines would be rotated to the new building, but Painter said if it did that, the city would be short an engine.

The 14,000-square-foot building will be constructed next to Montville’s office build­ing at 6665Wadsworth Road. It will serve the township and the southern part of the city.

It will include several docks for fire trucks and an area for ambulance crews.

Per the contract, the city, which provides fire services for the township, must provide a fire engine within 30 days of the building’s construction. The center is expected to be completed by winter 2011.

Painter said the township requested an engine to “cut down response time in their district,” which receives about 100 fire calls per year.

“There’s no doubt we’re going to have to put a truck there,” Hanwell said.

He said he just was recently made aware of the situation as well.

The city is exploring solu­tions to both issues, including paving part of the parking lot at a time and buying a used engine or a mini-pumper.

Mini-pumpers are fire engines the size of an ambu­lance that carry a smaller pump and three to four fire­fighters. A new mini pumper costs around $120,000, while a full- size engine costs $350,000 to $450,000, Painter said.

Contact Kaitlin Bushinski at (330) 721-4050 or kbushinski@medina-gazette.com.