A Lorain city councilman is proposing a tax levy to help fund the city's fire department, days after city council voted to slash the department’s funding. Lorain Mayor Chase Ritenauer signed that budget as part of more than $3 million in cuts due to lower tax revenues and reduced state government funding.
Ward 8 councilman Joshua Thornsberry said details have not been worked out, but said the levy would provide the fire department a more stable source of income.
“If we’re going to solve this problem long term, I think that’s the solution,” Thornsberry said, "I think it’s a fair solution because we’re putting it to the voters."
Unlike the police department, which has a levy of it’s own, the fire department relies more heavily on general funding. Council slashed $1.4 million from the fire department, which could result in up to 20 firefighters losing their jobs. That’s about 28 percent of the entire staff.
"We are a hostage of the general fund,” Fire Chief Tom Brown said. “If the general fund’s good, we can survive. When the general fund dips, we’re the first department looked at.”
Voters rejected a similar levy in 2011, but Thornsberry has already started an aggressive campaign, including launching a Facebook page,to convince voters.
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