JAMESTOWN, NY (WNY News Now) — Jamestown lawmakers are holding off on approving eight additional firefighter hires to join the city’s roster, as they seek more information about costs.
The reason for the delay, according to Councilwoman Kim Eckland, is the slow trickle in of information to council members. Mostly due to the lack of a comptroller in the City of Jamestown.
“We were presented with this information of the acceptance on February 17th, and briefly introduced to us at the first work session, and asked for information. More details on the financial side of it,“ explained Councilwoman Eckland. “Did not receive it up until, including this morning (Monday, March 27), and many of us were working all day, so did not have enough time to even look at it. Much less, to analyze it and get all the questions together that we had.”
The councilwoman hopes her colleagues do their due diligence when reviewing the proposal.
She went on to say that the council is all for public safety, however they cannot act hastily.
“With ARPA and with last year’s budget, I just want it clear that roughly $2.1 million dollars was given to the Jamestown Fire Department, and $2.3 million dollars to the Jamestown Police Department,” stated Councilwoman Eckland. “That’s almost $5 million dollars in ARPA funding and budget changes to help, clearly probably not enough as they will attest to, but to clearly try to show the support to help those departments.”
Lawmakers would also like to hold off hiring until they know whether or not a second ambulance will be purchased.
“We are going to table this and get those numbers in front of us,” explained Councilwoman Eckland. “To get the correct information, the adequate information, in addition to bringing the information of the ambulance forward which is part of the numbers that were presented to us. All of this needs to be shared, god forbid that we approve this and we don’t have the ambulance approval.”
The city has 180 days from the acceptance of the grant in mid February to begin the hiring process, allowing the resolution to be put off until their April voting session.
The council will review the topic at their next work session on Monday April 10.