Judge puts plan to close Medina Township fire department on hold

Posted at 11:52 PM, Jun 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-15 23:52:25-04

A Medina Township plan to close the fire department, and contract with the city of Medina instead, was put on hold Thursday when the firefighters association won a temporary restraining order just hours before they were set to vote.

Medina Township Fire Dept Lawsuit

The complaint was filed Thursday in Medina County Common Pleas Court and is scheduled to be heard June 26 at 9 a.m.

Trustees were set to vote on a contract that called for handing over control of the town’s two fire stations and equipment and paying the city $230,000 a year for coverage. That’s $400,000 less than what the town spent last year. However, the contract stated the town would still be on the hook for vehicle maintenance, replacement and storage.

RELATED: Medina Twp. Fire Captain: 'People will die' if department is closed, city mayor disagrees

That vote was delayed indefinitely when Trustee Bill Ostmann announced at Thursday’s meeting a temporary restraining order had been implemented. A packed room of stunned residents were turned away.

In the court filing, firefighters argued the plan to close the department violates state law because it was hashed out in secret, with no opportunity for public input. And they say money from a 2003 levy for the fire department can only be used for that purpose.

A plaintiff on the case declined to answer News 5’s questions, citing the pending litigation.

Some residents left the meeting confused about the facts of the deal, which was only made public a few days ago.

“If you’re going to present something like that, give us a little lead time on it,” resident Jack Coyne said.

The deal would put about 40 part-time firefighters out of work. However, a Medina city spokesman has said they would plan to rehire some of those displaced.