TIFFIN — A federal grant could pay for the Tiffin Fire/Rescue Division to restore five positions lost several years ago because of budget constraints.
The Seneca County city was awarded a two-year grant totaling $776,795 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Mayor Aaron Montz expects to present the grant to city council for consideration Jan. 20.
If city officials accept the funds, the fire division could fill the positions of four firefighters and a deputy chief, spots cut by attrition in 2009. The cuts were largely in response to a decrease in income taxes, which the mayor blamed on the economy.
State cuts followed, and the fire division hasn’t returned to its 2008 staffing level of 39 employees, which included 37 firefighters, a chief, and a deputy chief.
Chief William Ennis said the division has been operating with eight people on a shift, limiting firefighters’ ability to handle multiple calls at once.
The federal money would pay for the eliminated positions to be filled for two years, he said.
“It’s going to provide a better service to the citizens,” Chief Ennis said. “We can handle multiple calls more adequately.”
More personnel also makes it safer for firefighters: Three people could respond to a blaze per engine instead of two, he said.
Mr. Montz said he plans to recommend that council accept the grant’s full amount.
— Vanessa McCray
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