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Published: Wednesday, 5/22/2013

Council OKs fire station measures

N. Toledo facility will be built; oldest to be renovated

BY IGNAZIO MESSINA
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Toledo City Council during a special meeting Tuesday granted the final steps needed to build a fire station and renovate another, both in North Toledo.

Council voted 10-0 to approve special-use permits for the work during the meeting that preceded its agenda review session. Councilmen George Sarantou and Shaun Enright were not present.

The city plans to spend about $2.7 million for the new fire station, which will become Fire Station 12 — the name of a former firehouse at Suder Avenue and Manhattan Boulevard that was closed in 1980. It is to be built near Suder Avenue and Chase Street. The new station’s service area will span from north of Galena Street to south of Point Place.

Fire Station No. 3, Toledo’s oldest firehouse that was at one point last year targeted to be shuttered, will be expanded with two bays and a face-lift. The city has agreed to spend $16,000 to buy property next to the station to construct the two bays that will be attached to the building on Bush Street. The renovation will cost $1.7 million, which also has been approved.

Fire Chief Luis Santiago closed the 85-year-old building in September because of cracks in the floor of the fire-engine bay. He said it was unsafe to park 45,000-pound fire trucks on the compromised concrete floor.

The fire trucks and personnel were moved temporarily, but indefinitely, across the Maumee River to Station 13 on Front Street in East Toledo, about a mile away from the firehouse on Bush Street.

Also Tuesday, council reviewed a request to spend $5.39 million in agreements with Lucas County for 2013 criminal-justice services.

Councilman D. Michael Collins, chairman of council’s law and criminal justice committee, said the city has overpaid since 2010 for pretrial detention beds at the county jail.

“For the years, 2010, 2011, and 2012, we have paid $1.1 million for bed space that was never used,” Mr. Collins said. “We are paying for 35 beds that are never used on average for any month.”

Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat said the beds are filled some nights and some of the beds are empty on other nights.

It pays for work release, jail booking and custody services, Toledo Municipal Court security, and pretrial services.

The proposed ordinance, which could be voted on by council at its regular meeting next week, also authorizes $1.5 million “to be allocated as the county deems necessary across these contracts.”

The costs include $550,000 for the work release program; $1.4 million for bookings and custodies, $1.5 million for “miscellaneous,” $1,083,119 for nonviolent pretrial detention, and $865,071 for pretrial and pre-sentence services.

Council next week could also vote to hire the University of Toledo to develop a new civil service exam for police and firefighter applicants. The cost over five years would be $700,000.

The city could spend about $120,000 through March, 2014, when three UT professors assigned to the project would begin scoring and validating the tests, said Ellen Grachek, the city’s human resources director.

The proposed contract is a three-year agreement with two, one-year renewals.

Contact Ignazio Messina at: imessina@theblade.com or 419-724-6171.



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