VIDEO: In 2016, Ashland hired three additional firefighters for the first time since 2001 in response to service demands. Due to a $2 million budget deficit, those brand new positions could be eliminated in the 2019-2021 budget.
Ultimately, that would affect service levels in the city and reduce the number of staffed crews from about 10 members to a maximum of nine members.
"Anytime you lose people from the fire service that means a service reduction which means we won't be able to provide the same levels of service which could mean increased response times, and increased response times in emergencies is never a good thing," Fire Chief Mike D'Orazi said.
D'Orazi wasn't Ashland Fire & Rescue's chief when the additional hires were made, but says those members are invaluable. With the increased staffing from 2016, response times have dropped. At the time, Deputy Chief David Shepherd argued the additional firefighters also cut down on overtime and overworked crews.