May 17, 2022
By Jasmine Willis
HORNELL — Pastor Cedric Cooper has taken over the councilman position of the third ward. John Allison has resigned due to moving out of the area. Cooper was sworn into office and began his duties on the city council immediately.
Hornell City Fire Chief Frank Brzowski gave a presentation to the city council members about the rapid decline in volunteerism putting a strain on the city fire departments. He said throughout he has a lot of respect for the ones who are volunteering. He used to have upwards to 40 coming to his EMT classes. Now he said he is lucky if four people show up. He added a rapid increase in the drug epidemic has been a burden on the departments in recent years.
Hornell Mayor John Buckley said the only one in contract with the city fire department is Hornellsville. There are five ambulances that are at times on call all at once. Buckley worries this leaves the city residents exposed.
Both agreed they want to continue to help those in need the best they can. They both applaud the volunteers who are answering the call to serve.
Buckley said in the last decade there has been a rapid decline in volunteerism. The generation of volunteerism is in jeopardy.
He said due to this shortage the bulk of the calls are landing on the city fire department and ambulance.
Brzowski said the decline has gotten worse since 2018. He said most of the volunteers are anywhere from 60 to 80 years old. Most of them were taken out in the Covid-19 Pandemic.
He said they are all in the same sand box and need to work together. It is putting a lot of burden on the ones who do answer the call to serve. Volunteerism across the nation has become a dying breed. It is impacting rural and urban communities from coast to coast.
The county has gotten involved with this crisis and city representatives are working hand in hand to discuss these ever growing problems.
Buckley said it is unfair to the taxpayers to put the burden on them to pay for out of area services. He wants to look into meeting with other municipal leaders to talk about contracts.
He said he doesn’t think it is fair to ask the city taxpayers to cover the cost across the board. It needs to be even balanced.
A few examples were mentioned at the meeting of when the city fire department was stretched too thin. They need the volunteer fire departments and EMS to carry some of the weight.
Brzowski said he has the upmost respect for every volunteer who has answered the call to serve. He got his start in volunteerism and made it to the city. Buckley added that most of the city fire department came from these other volunteer fire departments.
A parking restriction is being put in place immediately for Loder St. at the Depot Lot. The restriction comes out of concern for public safety. It is a dangerous parking lot to get in and out of.
An acceptance of the balancing resolution and budget amendments were made. An acceptance of the new CDB grant and SEQR Housing Rehab grants were made at the meeting. These grants go to help the growing list of low income units that need repair in the city.
Mark Smith and Sharon Wirth have both resigned from the library.