Vancouver City Council Votes to Accept SAFER Grant

by lewwaters

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.”

5 Comments to “Vancouver City Council Votes to Accept SAFER Grant”

  1. Lew,

    Indeed well stated!!!

    Chuck

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  2. So basically what your saying Lew and from what I have heard that basically the city has two years from this date to figure out where they are going to get this extra money to fufill the SAFER grants commitments once it runs out?

    So where do these council members think this new money is going to come from? Once the shiny-ness and feel good of this whole situation wears off will there be a proposal in front of the city council to raise some fee or ask the voters for a levy to keep that fire station open?

    I just see more taxes coming soon. And honestly, where is the money going to come from?

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  3. As a famous philosopher once said, “Stupid is as stupid does”. I’m surprised that Jeanne Stewart went along with this lunacy. To paraphrase a saying, before you go to war be sure that you have the resources sufficient for the campaign – it appears in this case that the city expects ‘troops’ to magically appear in the nick of time.

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  4. It is unbelievable that our city council is even considering supporting a baseball team and light rail at the same time it’s closing down a fire station. I am glad they are able to reopen it but police and fire safety should be at the top of budget considerations, not the light rail and baseball stadiums.

    Light rail and the stadium will impact our budget for years to come…save our safety by abandoning those projects and applying the savings to the fire station 6 in 2 years. They might even earn a little interest on the savings in the interim.

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  5. dem2gop, do you know what is even funnier? Our local mayor is looking and exploring possibly running against Jaime Herrera Beutler. (src: http://tinyurl.com/3sf2j4c near the end of the interview.)

    Some thing that bothers me and isn’t talked about is I hear a lot about re-prioritizing government. I believe the City should consider selling the HIlton, parking garages and other things that have been built over the past two decades that are NOT city core functions. That would free up state and city bonds and other money that was taken to build what most common sense people would agree is NOT a core function of what local government should be doing.

    I do not mind that we spend money on parks & rec, economic development that will increase taxable income and is not further drain on economy or local efforts by community citizens to enhance our liveability without adding further resource depletion or draining economic whirlpools to an even further weakened county.

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