Home City Athens to purchase $750,000 firetruck; council supports LGBTQ rights in resolution

Athens to purchase $750,000 firetruck; council supports LGBTQ rights in resolution

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Athens City Council is in the process of purchasing a new $750,000 firetruck for the Athens Fire Department (AFD) to be added to the frontline fleet, according to Mayor Steve Patterson.

Patterson mentioned a new truck is needed, in part, because the city’s brick streets and the large number of miles the trucks travel in a year wears on it.

The truck will partially be paid for by Ohio University. The university committed to providing AFD $250,000 over the span of five years to help offset the costs of new equipment, Patterson said.

AFD made approximately 1,100 calls last year. Of those, 41% were to Ohio U buildings and residence halls, according to a previous report from The New Political.

In the past, financial contributions from the university helped pay for a firetruck with a ladder, which cost $1.2 million and helped service buildings in the city with four or more stories. The vast majority of four-story buildings in Athens are on university property, according to Patterson.

Council also unanimously passed a resolution in support of the Ohio Fairness Act, which is being debated in the Ohio General Assembly. If passed, the act would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in the workplace and in educational opportunities. 

Athens city passed ordinances in 1998 to add these legal protections, making it one of a few dozen municipalities in the state to do so, according to Equality Ohio, an organization that advocates for LGBTQ rights.

Dominic Detwiler, a public policy strategist from Equality Ohio, thanked City Council for helping to support members of the LGBTQ community in Ohio.

delfin bautista, the former director of the Ohio U LGBT Center who was fired last year, attended the meeting with their husband to support the resolution.

“Athens has a long history of supporting LGBTQ folks, and it’s exciting they are putting that on paper,” they said.

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