After voting unanimously to accept an agreement with IAFF Local 452, the Vancouver City Council has also voted unanimously to accept the the $2.3 million SAFER Grant that will hire 13 more Fire Fighters and reopen Fire Station 6 that was closed earlier due to budget restraints. The grant will not cover the $190,000 two-year operation costs of reopening Fire Station 6, nor will it pay the $180,000 in training and equipment costs for the 13 new staff members.
It does give the city 2 years to “fix the broken business model” of the city as expressed this evening my council member Burkman.
Mayor Leavitt did ask the Fire Chief when could citizens expect Fire Station 6 to be reopened and was told that training of the 13 Fire Fighters would begin September 6 with the reopening of Station 6 expected to be towards the end of October or early November.
All council members expressed concern over the city seeing a repeat in 2 years of facing closing of another fire station and laying off emergency personnel, but also stated they had 2 years now to work on correcting the problems the city faces financially.
Whether or not it dawns on them that the priority should be towards the safety of citizens instead of tax increases to pay for unnecessary projects, such as extending Portland’s Light Rail to Vancouver, a $24 Million Stadium or the other boondoggle reasons we hear they desire more money from taxpayers, remains to be seen.
Maybe too, they could discuss with County Commissioners on expecting a $1 Million traffic impact fee to build a new Chucks Produce, along with 80 new jobs, on Hwy 99 in the Salmon Creek area.
Jobs are what is needed and if they wish to not see a repeat of this in 2 years, both the city and county should be doing everything within their power to encourage businesses in the private sector to expand and hire.
Good news for people in the Fire Station 6 service area, but let’s hope City Council also sees the need to private sector growth over raising more and more taxes on a struggling middle class
UPDATE: See also the Columbian’s Vancouver fire station to reopen for more information on the agreement reached between the city and the Firefighters Union.
“Vancouver and its largest firefighting union — IAFF Local 452 — also settled on a four-year contract that includes no cost of living raises for two years, followed by a 3.7 percent increase in 2012 and a 2 percent increase in 2013. It also took no cost of living increase in its 2009 bargaining agreement.”
“The agreement includes what city leaders called a “notably innovative” agreement on health care: The union’s approximately 170 members will no longer be on the city’s health plan. Instead, the city will pay what it currently contributes for health care, $1,321 a month per employee, into a trust that will be managed by the union, which will then contract out their own health care services.”