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Weathersfield turns down joint fire district proposal

Girard council sets deadlines for blight

GIRARD — Wanting to see if neighboring Liberty and Weathersfield townships wanted to take part in a feasibility study on possibly forming a joint fire district, Girard city officials sent out letters to the two communities seeking a response, with one township indicating it would not be taking part.

Council President Reynold Paolone told city council Monday that Weathersfield Township Administrator David Rouan responded to the query. Rouan said his township — because it has a much smaller hybrid fire department and staff, mostly part-time and volunteer than Girard and Liberty — currently serves the township on its own well.

Rouan stated in the letter the Weathersfield Fire Department’s budget is over $277,000.

“We are not in a position to move forward or participate with the city’s proposal at this time,” he said.

Girard officials felt that they needed to have a feasibility study done first to see what costs and what would be involved to form a fire district with the three communities and possibly others, such as McDonald.

Mayor James Melfi said the study would need to be done first with costs to be split among the interested parties. Melfi said the city has not received a response yet from Liberty Township. He said both Girard and Liberty serve larger areas and have larger budgets and staffs.

“I would imagine that Liberty will be more interested in this,” Melfi said.

Melfi has said the city pays $1.6 million out of its general fund in addition to a current fire levy that generates $300,000, meaning total costs to cover the fire department are nearly $2 million.

Officials have said Girard’s fire budget is $1.6 million with $1.2 million coming from the city’s general fund; Liberty’s fire budget is $2.2 million.

Liberty has 17 full-time firefighters with Girard at 13 full time. Also, Liberty fire covers 23.7 square miles of roads, Girard 6.9 miles and Weathersfield eight miles.

In other business, the city and the Trumbull County Combined Health District are addressing issues at a building at 25 W. Liberty St, whose owner has 30 days to bring the property up to city codes or it will be demolished. The city’s environmental specialist will enter the building which has already been condemned by the county health department.

Melfi said if demolition happens, the costs will be placed on the property owner’s tax liens.

“This may be the beginning of some needed urban renewal of the city,” Melfi said.

A mural on the building will also be removed before it is demolished.

Melfi said another property on Mosier Road near Liberty Street has been addressed, where a property owner has thrown construction debris down the side of a nearby hill into Liberty Memorial Park.

“With the help of the county that mess that was on a steep cliff has been cleaned. There are times I wonder why people do what they do,” Melfi said.

Another property at 1047 Washington Ave. will be condemned if not brought up to code by May 26. Melfi said demolition costs are around $6,000 per house. The Washington Avenue property was already checked for asbestos.

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