To fully staff Station No. 11 is an estimated $721,000 annually compared to the one-time cost of purchasing equipment.
Nevertheless, Mayor Ardis and 2nd District Councilwoman Barbara Van Auken, who represents the area covered by Station 11, both believe the council will discuss it during budget negotiations.
'I think it will come up in the sense that I and other council members want to know we're going down the road to re-establishing an engine at that station,' Van Auken said Wednesday. 'I dare say all of us on the council are acutely aware of finances and it may not be this year and maybe not next year, but this remains one of my top priorities.
'I know there are constituents who would like us to move faster (but) right now, most of us are in the same boat, we don't have a spare cent."
Here's the problem. The gnomes who helped create this budget the ones who insisted -- absolutely insisted -- at the time that we didn't need fire station 11. These are the people who told us with a straight face that there would be no substantial increase in response times, an assertion that flies in the face of physics and the evidence of our own eyes. They are never going to want to fully fund the station. Any money going to station 11 is money that isn't being spent on their more politically powerful and more affluent buddies out in District 5 and the Dunlap School District.
To say that I am disappointed would be an understatement. I understand where Barbara is coming from; there are a ton of needed improvements to fire protection that are getting funded instead.
Were I hearing this from some other members of the council, I'd be jumping down their throats now. But I trust Barbara to be giving me her honest appraisal of the facts. But if it wewre me, I'd be fighting and agitating to take money from other less worthy sources and -- dare I say it -- less essential city services.