Count Old Lycoming Township Fire Chief Joe Hope as someone who is not a fan of Williamsport Mayor Gabriel J. Campana's plan to cut city fire protection in 2015.
Hope says the plan is "detrimental to the township and the city" and there appear to be two main points of contention.
First of all, the city has a cooperative response agreement with the township dating to 1999 that calls for the city to maintain 30 firefighters.
And secondly, Campana's plan to hire on-call firemen who would be paid per response might take away from the volunteer availability in the township.
Chief Hope said if the city goes for the mayor's plan, the alliance is over.
The mayor's plan is a close partner to one suggested following a detailed fire protection study done by the city in 1981. While many recommendations in that study were approved, including codes protection and a 24-hour arson hotline, the manpower portion of it wasn't.
And the volunteer situation is much different today. There were 300,000 state residents volunteering for fire departments then. There are 70,000 now.
City Council members have largely agreed to look at the mayor's plan, though most had reservations about some of the details.
Perhaps, since all of this is supposed to take effect in 2015, a special committee, similar to 1981, should be convened to take a thorough, objective look at the issue of fire protection in the city, including the budgetary implications.