Canonsburg Borough Council voted to hire its first full-time firefighter Tuesday night.
The vote did not come easy as council tied 3-3 on adding the $25,000 salary and $12,000 in benefits to the 2013 budget of $4.3 million that calls for a 1-mill tax increase that will be used for parks and recreation. That would mean the average property owner would pay $12 more per year.
Mayor David Rhome cast the deciding vote, saying he was voting for the safety of the community.
Rhome, himself the assistant fire chief, said the department has 22 volunteers, down from 35 volunteers, and many of them now work out of town during the day.
“There’s a limited amount of people and to wait 7 to 9 minutes to put a truck on the road is unacceptable. I will not compromise safety and that’s why my vote is the way it is,” he said.
It was the first time Rhome had to cast a deciding vote in his three years as mayor.
Voting for the preliminary budget were Peter Lucas, John Bevec, and Richard Russo. Voting against were Timothy Bilsky, Patricia Romano and Paul Sharkady.