AUBURN — Trustees approved an increase in the 2021 contract with the Auburn Volunteer Fire Department for an additional $334,555 during their Monday meeting.

The addition comes from the 1.8-mill fire levy residents approved during the Nov. 3 election last year to support increased personnel costs and additional equipment. President of the department, Mario Monocci, told the trustees during the May 3 meeting that this increase is the difference between their original $696,000 contract, signed in December last year.

“We have an estimated $175,200 of that [increase] going toward our station staffing, which is the addition of a fourth” firefighter for shifts to support 24/7 operations, he said, “and the remaining $159,355 going toward equipment purchases, stations, devices, things like that.”

Trustee Chairman Mike Troyan explained that the township and fire department agreed on the original contract “to figure out exactly how much our collections would be” with the plan to readdress the contract once the township could confirm how much of the funds would be available from the new levy. The new total contract is $1,030,555.

Mr. Monocci said the department is still actively recruiting to fill a fourth night position to staff the department starting June 1 in order to have enough personnel to support the station 24/7.

Six applicants currently are in the hiring process that the department has interviewed, he said, adding that two firefighters have just finished their training period and another two are still in their training period.

Chief John Phillips said after the meeting that the department has 36 firefighters on their roster, noting that adding a fourth firefighter on shifts will help with back-to-back calls, which make up between 19-20 percent of calls.

In other news, trustees awarded about $1.16 million in road construction projects.

The trustees had approved the locally funded asphalt resurfacing of Bartholomew Road from Munn to Thorpe roads and Leland Trail during their April 5 meeting, as well as the reconstruction of Stafford Road. The trustees awarded the bids for these projects following the April 23 bid openings.

Trustee Patrick J. Cavanagh said both projects brought in three bids each.

The asphalt resurfacing project was originally estimated at $275,000, but the lowest bid from the Cleveland-based Perk Co., Inc. came in at $244,336. For the Stafford Road project, estimated at $975,000, the trustees awarded the project to Eclipse Company of Auburn at $916,494.

The Stafford reconstruction project is partially funded by Ohio Public Works Commission funding, the trustees said, up to about $300,000, with the remaining locally funded.

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