Girard rethinks mutual aid agreement

The mayor in Girard, Ohio is rethinking an mutual aid agreement with Liberty Township.

GIRARD, Ohio (WYTV) – The question over water pressure is reaching a boiling point between the city of Girard and Liberty Township.

The issue is one reason Girard Mayor Jim Melfi is looking at the future of providing mutual aid to the township.

Even before a fire at the former Days Inn in Liberty township last month, leaders in Girard were already looking at the mutual aid the city provides to the township. Mayor Jim Melfi says Liberty doesn’t provide much mutual aid in return, and it’s costing them thousands in manpower and equipment costs.

“That just highlighted a year that this city spent a lot of money on overtime providing assistance to Liberty,” Melfi said. “In some ways, we are subsidizing their fire department, and we are not supposed to be doing that.”

Melfi says the fire chief will make the ultimate decision, but would stop responding to minor calls. Liberty Administrator Pat Ungaro says he agrees mutual aid is not needed in every case and believes the chief will make the right decision.

Melfi said he is also considering charging Liberty for the water they use to fight fires that come from the fire hydrant.

“At the most recent fire, the city of Girard provided 400,000 gallons of our water at our cost, our equipment, our manpower, and yet I got to be told the pressure was bad and maybe that is why they let it burn. That is bologna.”

Girard is expected to make a decision by the end of the month.

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