By Jeff Gallatin
Try, try again will be the philosophy for area officials involved in seeking a grant to help fund implementation of a Westshore fire district or authority.
Bay Village Mayor Debbie Sutherland said Friday the four cities (Bay Village, Fairview Park, Rocky River and Westlake) seeking the grant from the state of Ohio development department to help fund the proposed fire district authority had been notified that they had been unsuccessful in their attempt.
“We were told that based on what we had submitted, they didn’t think there would be enough financial return on the grant,” she said.
However, a conversation with state development department officials about the grant will prompt the cities to try again, Sutherland said.
“They indicated that they weren’t sure the initial application showed everything which they thought benefit us by getting the grant,” she said. “We got some suggestions about how to work on it so we can get a new proposal ready for the next round of applications.”
Sutherland said the grant officials indicated that they would be available to answer questions as the cities develop the new application.
“We should be able to make this application a little more effective,” she said.
Sutherland noted that in the recent November elections, several proposed municipal charter amendments, which her administration said would help pave the way toward the fire district authority and implementation of that or other possible regional cooperation initiatives, were soundly defeated by voters. With those defeats and the rejection of the initial grant proposal, Sutherland said now is a good time to reassess how to proceed with the fire authority plans.
“We’ll be putting our heads together as a group and deciding on the best ways to proceed with all of this,” she said.
Sutherland said with the new year arriving in a few weeks, she also thinks it will be a good time to let someone else pick up the leadership mantle on the regional fire authority.
“We’ll all still be working together, but I think someone else can take the lead on much of this,” she said.
Brandon Dimacchia, head of the Bay Village firefighters’ union, which opposed the proposed charter amendments as well as expressing opposition to the proposed fire authority, said it’s time for Bay and the other cities to reconsider what they’re doing.
“After the Bay Village voters rejected the charter proposals linked to regionalization, and the state rejected giving grant money toward regionalization, maybe the administration should continue to keep things running in its normal effective manner and move on to something that would better serve its citizens,” he said.