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San Joses Fire Chief Rick McCaulley made an impassioned plea to the city council for $7.5 million in new fire department funding on May 4th at the council s regular meeting.
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He said the funds are critical to maintaining the city s fire. If the city doesnt provide for it, we ll look elsewhere. Without this funding we simply cant do it. In light of budget cuts and limited resources, San Joses Fire Chief Rick McCaulley and the Fire Department are trying to fill this gap with creative methods.
San Joses Fire Chief Rick McCaulley spoke before the San Joses City Council May 4 at the city council s regular meeting. The council tabled a request for nearly $7 million to increase funding for the city s fire department. Photo by Bill Clark San Joses Fire Chief Rick McCaulley made an impassioned plea to the city council for $7.5 million in new fire department funding on May 4th at the council s regular meeting.
Council members had no choice but to put the funding request in the city s current annual operating budget, a move that will result in the loss of another $1.5 million, not to mention the lost time of council members trying to reconcile the financial plan with the $1.5 million reduction. Fire Chief Rick McCaulley explained that the department needs more than $2.5 million more to adequately train and equip a fire company of 70 firefighters.
A request for funds of nearly $7.5 million was placed in the annual operating budget and passed unanimously by the council. The annual operating budget passed May 3, 2006 at the council s regular meeting.
Fire Chief McCaulley said the department needs funds to keep up with its current responsibilities, but the budget isnt enough to keep up with the rising costs of operating an older fleet of fire trucks.
In June 2004, the city contracted with Tuckers of East San Jose to acquire approximately 12 brand new fire engines for $2 million.
However, after only one year of service, the engines were purchased from Tuckers of East San Jose at a cost of $1 million.
Despite Tuckers promising the city that it would return the engines after they had been refurbished, there has been little to no refurbishment and the engines remain inoperable.
According to fire chief McCaulley, the city will not be paid for the two pieces of equipment until they have been refurbished and returned.
Mayor Tait said he is not opposed to replacing the old trucks, but is hoping the new budget will also include funds for new engines.
The funding request made by fire chief McCaulley includes the purchase of 14 new fire engines for the city, as well as training and maintenance, in addition to replacing the engine which had been purchased from Tuckers at a cost of $1 million.
McCaulley said fire companies are required to maintain 10 trucks. Currently, six of the city s 11 companies have only eight trucks.
Although the funding request exceeds the annual operating budget, the council has been advised to include it in the 2008 operating budget, since it s necessary for fire safety and prevention.
The decision on the funding of the request is still pending.
Council members were also presented with a detailed report on the status of the city s fleet of vehicles, some of which are in poor condition.
According to the report, many of the vehicles have been purchased in the last six years, but have not been maintained. Some vehicles have not been serviced for a year or more.
McCaulley said that without the funding to purchase new trucks and provide training, the service of the vehicles would be severely hindered.
The city operates a fleet of 23 vehicles including 14 fire engines, one fireboat, one rescue car and one truck. Of these, five vehicles, including one fireboat and three trucks, are now inoperable and need to be replaced.
The fleet has been in need of replacement for years, but council has been unable to find the money for the vehicles.
Because of the increase in the budget for this year, the council will be able to include $300,000 to purchase new vehicles. The remaining amount will be split between purchasing vehicles and the training budget.
Council approved an ordinance to amend the Zoning Ordinance by amending Chapter 3.11. The purpose of the amendments is to ensure that the City of Fairborn and its agents comply with the State s Fire Code which allows a vehicle in a public park to be operated on the paved portion of the park.
The new ordinance stipulates the type of equipment allowed to be operated on the park. The ordinance also stipulates the required warning sign or sign that should be displayed on the vehicle.
The ordinance is designed to protect both the park users and the citizens of Fairborn. While the ordinance does not change existing signs, it does put forth the language for those signs.
The council also approved an ordinance to amend Chapter 26 of the Fire Code to set fire alarms at the City of Fairborn s fire stations. The ordinance allows the alarm company to provide the alarms as a service to the citizens. If the citizens elect to have the service, then the fire department will pay the company to run the alarms and to test the systems monthly.
The council also approved an ordinance amending Chapter 3.11.8 of the Zoning Ordinance to change the design and use of a building. The changes to the ordinance were needed due to plans by the current property owners of the structure to rebuild and update the facilities to be more energy efficient.
If approved, the proposed changes would allow a maximum of 80 feet of clear area around a structure to be used as a parking lot. The existing code prohibits that in one lot.
The changes also change the types of equipment allowed in an area zoned commercial. The changes prohibit the use of a gasoline delivery truck.
The Zoning Administrator will be sending the changes to council for approval.
The council also approved a resolution to approve a request from the City of Fairborn, on behalf of its citizens, to grant membership to the Ohio Athletic Conference for the sports of cross country and soccer.
"The Ohio Athletic Conference will bring a competitive balance, and will allow other teams in this area to have a chance to compete at the highest level, and it gives us an opportunity to develop our student athletes, and bring in more recruits," said Mayor Kevin Loehrer.
Fairborn will participate in the first-ever conference tournament Sept. 16 at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green.