PLYMOUTH -- A borough in Luzerne County hopes to save money to hire more police officers by closing a fire company. However, many people in Plymouth don’t like that idea, so the borough is rethinking its plans.
Right now, Plymouth Borough has two budget proposals for next year. Both proposals include cutting out funding for Good Will Hose Company #2. However, after hearing from taxpayers, council members are trying to come up with a third option.
Good Will Hose Company #2 is one of three fire companies in Plymouth.
Borough council members are thinking about eliminating #2's funding and raising taxes as part of a plan to hire more police officers.
Borough Council President Gary Kochinski said Plymouth's current spending plan is just unsustainable.
“Our backs are against the wall. We have crime escalating in town. People are complaining about the crime, and we need to do something about it. The money has to come from somewhere. Either you raise the taxes or cut the services. We're trying to do both to compensate the difference,” Kochinski said.
Plymouth resident John Manley said there is a problem with drugs in the borough. He said hiring more police officers could help with that, but it should not come at the cost of losing a fire company and raising taxes.
“I think we're all in the same boat just about, maybe some can afford it more than others. The crazy thing is the ones that can afford it most want it least,” Manley said.
One proposal would cost the average taxpayer about $93 more a year. It would keep the full-time and part-time firefighters from Good Will #2, but send them to other departments in Plymouth.
The second eliminates those paid positions and raises property taxes just $34 more a year.
“You don't cut one service to help another service. You find the money somewhere else,” Luzerne County Professional Firefighters President George Tomasak said.
Now, council members said they are going to go back to the drawing board and revise their budget plans. They said they're open to all options, including ones that could save Good Will Hose Company #2.
“It's only $6,000 to keep them open. Maybe there is something we can do to squeeze it out of the budget and keep them open and also maybe try to get the taxes down because the people were upset about the taxes and everyone already pays enough in taxes,” Kochinski said.
Plymouth council members plan to come up with a third budget option and have that ready for their next meeting on December 10 at 1 p.m.