YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – For the first time ever, the Mahoning County Hazmat Team now has a budget of its own.
Up until now, the Hazmat team was given extra money from other county departments, sometimes Sanitary Engineering or sometimes Green Team. Because of this, no stable funding was in place, so sometimes there was only $15,000 or less available.
But now, the plan is for every township, city and village in Mahoning County to put in 10 cents per resident and the county itself will match whatever is raised by that per capita fee.
Youngstown Fire Chief John O’Neill said the change is a long time coming.
“That will give the Hazmat Team enough funding to not only sustain, but replace equipment that is aged and obsolete, which is something we haven’t been able to do for a long time,” he said.
Youngstown’s share this year is $6,800.
“It’s been a very small budget over the years, under $20,000. They really couldn’t sustain themselves that way,” he said.
People on the Hazmat Team are all volunteers. Over the past few years, Hazmat Team members have dealt with chlorine leaks at the city’s waste water plant and oil and chemical spills on I-80.