So a guy in our band says he's about to loose overtime and a station to a city with no budget and a chief out of answers. What do you think?
Fire Chief William McCorkle sees the temporary shutdown of Fire Station No. 3 as a road test toward a possible permanent closure. The station, on Colonial Drive and 37th Avenue, will be closed until July 7 due to sewer work.
That's sufficient time to determine if it's possible for the city to get by on having three stations instead of four, McCorkle said.
"It wasn't planned, but the temporary closure could prove my point," he said.
McCorkle said he has spoken to other city officials, including Mayor Brian Snedecor, about the possibility of closing one of the four stations to help save money given the projected property tax cuts.
"There is no definite plan to close it. I have informally talked to the mayor about the possibility," he said.
McCorkle estimates that by closing the one station, the city could save approximately $78,000 in utilities, repairs and overtime to firefighters.
"He (Snedecor) wants to look at ways to save. I have a way," he said.
McCorkle sees an advantage to the new arrangement. If there is one less station, then there could be two paramedics with advanced life support capabilities assigned to each station instead of one, as is now the case.
"If we go to three stations we would gain two more life support systems. ... It's all about getting to the patient and initiating care. The most important part isn't transporting patients," he said.
McCorkle said the number of firefighters increased to an all-time high of 59 in 2002, so it made more sense to have four stations.As firefighters quit or retired, that number was reduced to 52. With the current hiring freeze, that number now stands at 50.In the future, McCorkle would like to see both Fire Station No. 3 and Fire Station No. 2 on Old Ridge Road closed with another station built on Wisconsin Street near 37th Avenue to better serve the north side.
He said he's also broached to the mayor the possibility of seeking assistance in building a new station from developers, such as those building Cressmoor Estates.