Youngstown Council has agreed with the mayor that they will make cuts to the fire department. Council voted 6-1 to reduce the number of battalion chiefs.
The administration also said they will move forward with plans to close a station on the city's north side despite concerns and criticism from the public.
It was a full house for Wednesday night's council meeting.
Among the pressing issues was the administration's proposal to reduce the number of battalion chief's from six to three through attrition.
"What are your goals long term with the fire department, so we don't go through a whole other year of just confusion and chaos," asked Councilwoman Lauren McNally.
McNally said she questioned supporting change without seeing a long-term plan for the department and ultimately was the only vote against the reduction in force.
The administration said the reduction would save the city about $130-thousand dollars with each position. Beginning with when someone retires early next month.
Another pressing issue on the fire department is a proposal by the administration to close station #7 on the city's north side.
"It is not proactive to wait until 3 months before our lease is up to suddenly announce we are closing a critical fire station with no real plan to replace it," said one man who spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting.
"The idea that you might replace the station is a farce meant to placate us until we forget about this issue," said another woman.
Afterward, the administration said despite the criticism they still plan to close the station by the end of the year.
"I love input. I mean it doesn't change my mind because there are things I have to do as mayor that the average citizen may say, 'Well, you don't have to do it that way.' I have a charge and I have the challenge to do it as a mayor that I might not be able to share with the citizens but I trust the direction we're going," said Mayor Tito Brown.
The city's law director said funding for a new station is not in the general fund currently. The hope and the goal are that state and federal money would help in the process.
Also on the agenda Wednesday was a proposed sewer rate increase. That issue was added late to the agenda though and remained in the finance committee for further review.