Sharon residents voice concern over the future of safety services

SHARON, Pa. (WKBN) — It was a packed house in Sharon tonight, as firefighters and neighbors came out in droves to the city council meeting.

Carol Swartz was one of the scores of people who packed into the Sharon City Council meeting Thursday night with a message.

“I want them to know that they do not understand totally. It’s always money, money, money,” said Swartz.

She’s lived here for 69 years.

And she’s concerned about the possibility of fire and police services being on the chopping block.

“These firefighters and policemen are Sharon’s finest. They will do whatever they have to and they go beyond,” Swartz said.

On the agenda tonight was an issue that would have authorized the City Manager to pen a new shared services agreement with Farrell– at Farrell’s request.

But firefighters and neighbors worry it would stretch police protection too thin.

And open the door for cuts to the fire department.

“There was going to be eight full time firefighters and 16 part time firefighters in Sharon laid off, from the council workshop in the presentation the city manager put out,” said Matt Grove, Union President, Sharon Professional Firefighters.

The Council President says that’s not necessarily true.

“There is no fire issue as such right now. It’ll come up in budget discussions as to how we can sustain what we have,” said Ed Palanski, Sharon City Council President.

Cuts to the fire department were mentioned in budget discussions at a workshop.

But at this point– there’s no move being made to actually make them reality.

“The difficulty of being in public service: an utterance made in public becomes a fact in someone’s mind. And we have a long way to go,” said Palanski.

Council is working on the budget, which is due in October.

Their goal is to make sure things are balanced.

“You can’t spend a dollar unless you take a dollar in,” said Palanski.

And several people here said they’d be willing to pay more… If it meant keeping fire and police.

“To receive services if that’s what you have to do, that’s what you have to do even if you’re on a fixed income,” Swartz said.

In the end, the shared services issue was tabled.

And the discussion on cuts to the fire department will continue as the budget moves forward.

 

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