Mike Wilson: ‘Give me a break’
April 15, 2011
To the editor:
As someone who was a 19-year member, 12 as secretary/treasurer, of the Craig Fire Board, let me comment on the proposed second fire station in west Craig.
Bill Johnston and Chris Nichols sound like a broken record.
The firefighters have been attempting this expansion since I became a board member, and it was always the board's answer that it is not a needed investment of taxpayer money.
As to the reason given for building a second station, growth to the west of Craig, come on.
Growth that way hasn't increased that much in the past 29 years or so.
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Remember, when the first power station was built experts predicted Craig would have at least 20,000 residents within 20 years.
That was back in the 1970s, and Craig's population is not much above what it was back then.
Is there a need for another fire station? Absolutely not.
As to the way the taxpayers' money is presently being spent, let's dwell on that a little: $1 million for a bucket truck to replace the ladder truck, that's a total waste.
A neighboring small city with a population of 17,000 and a full-time fire department recently purchased a new five-passenger bucket truck for just under $500,000.
Also, it is American made, not German.
By the way, that all-expenses paid trip for firefighters to tour that German plant?
Give me a break. That company just hid those costs within the $1 million. That's the way it works — you still paid for it.
You guys could have bought two bucket trucks for what was paid for that one.
Was there really a need for that kind of expenditure?
As to articles stating "we need to increase the number of volunteers to 35 because of need."
Have you changed the fire district's charter, which states no more than 25 volunteers at any time?
I read in the Craig paper a few months ago that 22 firefighters were dispatched to fight a fire and yet the home was a total loss.
When I left the board 13-plus years ago, the board had raised the pay for part-time firefighters to a little more than $20 an hour. I doubt it's anywhere near that now.
Even at $20 an hour, and the article stated they were there for more than two hours, that would equate to more than $880.
I know you'll tell taxpayers you were using that fire as a training tool on how not to save a structure, even if you tried to no avail. Another waste.
Sending that many firemen to a structure already totally involved is a reflection on the chief and his officers.
All this may sound like I'm against the fire district, but I fully appreciate the dangers these volunteers face each time they respond, and hopefully they continue their duties by using the facility and equipment people have already paid for.
The need for another fire station or a full-time department?
Give me a break.