Comment By Bob L.
This is a good example of our Governments at work, cut the most important to save money with no regards for Health or Safety, Other things are more Important, here is a good comment from a concerned citizen, [ Tacoma. Can find $3,000,000 for the car museum, $760,000 for advertising a couple of years ago (That was when the city was facing over a $21 million deficit) , pay $12,000,000 for 3 acres of land, $600,000 for a “gift pagoda”, yet can’t keep fire stations open, or fully staffed, or after school programs operating in east Tacoma.] (Looks Good on paper,but they don’t always come) and you can not for get supporting TWO Transit Companies out of the General fund. If they can not support EIGHTY Percent to operate, then they are to BIG and the taxpayer should not have to subsidize them to keep them in operation, private companies can not run this way, it is pay your way or go out of Business, this should also go for all Government Operations. They charge for the services, but the Taxpayer still has to subsidize them because they over spend to operate (they call that blank check).
You can go on about the waste in Government, but you have to also put some of the blame on the people like the YUPPIES today who want all this stuff that is not needed just because it looks Coooool, I look at it this way, if IT can not SUPPORT it’s self then it is not needed, it is not up to the American people to support every cockamamy project that comes along like bigger and fancy Highways, the latest lights, and Fancy Buildings, you can go on and on and see where all the waste is.
Proctor fire station unable to respond to fire two blocks away after cutbacks, other station put out blaze
Controversial service cutbacks at three Tacoma fire stations will continue after more than a month of labor talks aimed at averting some budget cuts to the Fire Department have failed.
Lewis Kamb and Stacia Glenn; Staff writer
Published: Jan. 8, 2013
“Unfortunately, no mutually agreeable solution came forth,” Tacoma Fire Chief Jim Duggan said Tuesday. “The talks are done.”
The Fire Department began scaling back its services Tuesday at 7 a.m. with the deactivation of fire engines at Station 13 in the Proctor District and Station 15 on the East Side.
Less than an hour later, a house caught fire two blocks away from the Proctor station. Because the station at 3825 N. 25th St. no longer has a pump, hose or water tank, firefighters from Station 9 at 3502 Sixth Ave. responded to the blaze in the 4000 block of North 25th Street. They were able to confine the fire to a single room while the crew from Proctor’s Station 13 made sure nobody was in the home.
Duggan said the firefighters’ response was within the department’s four-minute travel time response goals.
Two firefighters now staff Station 13 from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. with an emergency response vehicle equipped with medical supplies. The station is not staffed overnight, when other fire stations will respond to fires in the Proctor District.
Station 15 at East 64th Street and McKinley Avenue also has lost staff and its engine, although it remains staffed around the clock.
Failed negotiations between the city and its firefighter union mean that those service cuts will remain in place and that Station 6 – Tacoma’s only fire station in the Port of Tacoma – will close after the Murray Morgan Bridge reopens in coming weeks.
Top officials for Tacoma Fire Union Local 31 said Tuesday that their union made two offers to the city to offset up to $1 million in cuts aimed for fire stations in Proctor and the Port of Tacoma. But the city rejected each without explanation or a counter-offer, they said.
“They just told us no,” union president Ryan Mudie said. “They don’t want solutions, they want more concessions — and it’s putting the public at risk.”
With the city facing a $63 million shortfall, Tacoma Fire was among the departments hardest hit by the budget ax under the 2013-14 general fund. City officials last month approved an austerity budget with $11 million in Fire Department cuts, including reductions of about 30 firefighters through retirement buyouts.
Councilman Anders Ibsen, whose district includes Proctor, said Tuesday that no one wants to see resource cuts but that the city must march forward to a new fiscal reality.
“What’s done is done,” Ibsen said. “The budget has been approved, and the bottom line is people’s (fire) service really isn’t diminishing. I have faith in Chief Duggan and our firefighters. I’m very confident the Fire Department will be able to respond in a manner so that public safety will be protected.”
In recent weeks, some City Council members and fire union officials expressed optimism that concession negotiations could help stave off some of the Fire Department cuts.
Local 31 offered $500,000 of contractual concessions more than a month ago, seeking to “split the costs” with the city to restore $1 million worth of cuts, Mudie said.
After the city rejected that proposal, Mudie said his union came back with a $1 million offer that would have increased firefighter work hours to help restore services. He didn’t fully explain how the proposal would have saved the city money.
The union floated the offer three weeks ago — before the council took its holiday break, he added.
But without explanation, Mudie said, the city informed the union Tuesday it was rejecting the offer. Council members discussed the offer during a closed-door session earlier Tuesday.
“We’re talking about something this important and they couldn’t get back to us for three weeks,” Mudie asked. “They took the holidays off because apparently they don’t care about public safety for the citizens of Tacoma. You can bet members of Local 31 were working over the holidays.”
Duggan, who declined to discuss details of the union’s proposals, said the city appreciated the union’s offers and thoughtfully considered them within a goal to find “a budget-neutral solution that would be sustainable for the long term.”
“They didn’t fit that,” he added.
City fire officials also plan to continually monitor the department’s performance amid the new cuts and will report back to the council within three to six months, Duggan said.
Department spokesman Joe Meinecke said the changes to staffing did not have a noticeable effect on response to Tuesday’s house fire.
“Our response times were good and from an operations standpoint, things went just like we talked about and prepared our crews for,” he said.
Investigators said the cause of the fire was a failure in the house’s knob and tube electrical wiring. Damage was estimated at $15,000.