[cifnmedia] Council could close one fire station

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: CIFN LIST <cifnmedia@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 13 Aug 2004 12:15:19 -0700 (PDT)

Council could close one fire station

By Danny Gallagher
The Paris News

Published August 11, 2004 

One of the city’s four fire stations could be facing the sharp end of the 
Paris City Council’s budget ax in the coming weeks.

But District 6 Councilman Don Wilson said, “Everybody doesn’t need to 
panic,” noting that the Paris City Council has a responsibility to ask 
questions and hasn’t decided anything yet.

During a five-hour budget workshop Tuesday, council members discussed the 
possibility of closing one station to help reduce a projected deficit in the 
proposed 2004-2005 budget. 

When Mayor Curtis Fendley asked Fire Chief Ronnie Grooms about the effects of 
closing a station, the chief said he would have to research the matter further. 
But Grooms noted it would have an effect on the fire department’s response 
time to local emergencies.

“We can make it work with three stations,” Grooms said. “But there’s 
also the option of what to do to deliver a certain level of service for the 
city. We can’t help that the city’s growing ... but this won’t help our 
response time.”

Wilson noted that Station No. 4, which sits across from Paris High School on 
Jefferson Road, gets the least amount of calls compared to the three remaining 
stations and was built in a very remote location.

“It’s completely stupid that we have it out there because there are not any 
homes out there,” Wilson said. “If you don’t have enough rooftops, why 
put a fire station out there? That’s just common sense.”

Grooms said Station No. 4 was needed to meet the growth of the city and to 
cover outlying areas outside of Loop 271. 

“We have to be to meet our requirements with respectable times,” Grooms 
said. “We needed the best geographic locations to get the one and a half mile 

Grooms and council members say they will explore a possible alliance between 
volunteer fire departments in nearby cities such as Reno and Hugo, Okla. in 
order to combine forces in case more men are needed on the scene or another 
department can get to the scene of an emergency quicker than the other 

During budget deliberations, Grooms and the council agreed on $92,350 in 
proposed budget cuts in areas such as minor apparatus, travel expenses, 
electric utilities, buildings and grounds and training. 

One area that was not affected was overtime, for which Grooms budgeted 
$300,000, according to budget projections.

District 7 Councilman Jim Bell asked if there is a way to determine how much of 
that overtime is drawn while employees are being trained. 

“There’s got to be some way to track overtime that’s due to training and 
put it in the overtime budget,” Bell said. “We can’t stop a guy from 
calling in sick, but we have some control when it comes to training.”

Grooms also announced several ongoing and upcoming building projects for the 
four fire stations despite his suggestion to cut the building and grounds fund 
by $17,000.

Station No. 3 is entering the second phase of a parking lot renovation project, 
Grooms said, but he recommended that “if you need to cut it, we’ll cut 

Most of the stations’ remaining repairs include some painting and new locks 
for doors that aren’t secure, Grooms explained.

Wilson concluded deliberations about the fire department’s budget by saying 
the council is still exploring all available options and that nothing is final.

“We’re up here trying to ask all the questions we can ask,” Wilson said. 
“And we’ve got to put them all on the table to find the best solution.” 

Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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