Earlier this afternoon City Hall sent out the video you'll find after the jump, in which City Manager Mary Suhm walks you though the proposed FY2011-12 budget presented to media last week and council on Monday. And it reminded me: One of the smaller but more controversial items contained therein is the shuffling and mothballing of fire trucks: Right now, the budget calls for relocating nine engines and putting one "in reserve," at a guesstimated savings of about $9 million.
Suhm told the council Monday that this is far from the donest of done deals; she yet to talk to the various fire-rescue associations about the proposal, a task she's left to First Assistant City Manager A.C. Gonzalez, lucky feller. When asked about the proposal Monday by Mayor Pro Tem Pauline Medrano, Suhm said, look, "We have not looked at workload versus equipment for the past 25 years, and we need to do that every two, three years or whenever you add a station." An initial review indicated some trucks weren't where they needed to be, and that one could be put into storage for now.
So far, no one's mentioned at those City Hall meetings which trucks are going to be moved, and which one will be put in storage. But word's circulating amongst Dallas Fire-Rescue workers that the ladder truck scheduled to be mothballed is Truck 23 out of Oak Cliff, in Dwaine Caraway's district. And one of the truck's scheduled to be moved is ladder Truck 11 out of the Cedar Springs station in District 14, which would go to DFD Station No. 40 near Duncanville.
Hence the website Save Truck 11 and the accompanying Facebook page, started by some of the firefighters in Oak Lawn who are, in the words of one fireman with whom I just spoke, "vehemently opposed" to moving the truck down south.
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"They didn't get any information from the guys in the field," he told me. "Their feeling is overall they can improve response times, but we feel it's ludicrous to move a truck from 11. We have easy access to Stemmons, Central and the tollway, not to mention all these business and residences around here."
The firefighters are trying to get Angela Hunt involved. No need: She tells Unfair Park she's already on it.
"I've been getting calls and emails form residents and business owners concerned about the possible loss about this ladder enginer, so I have requested city staff investigate this issue and how we can make sure we protect our many mid-rises and high-rises in the area," she says. "They don't need to lobby me for it. They don't have to convince me it's a good idea to have fire protection for District 14."
Messages have been left for Gonzalez and Suhm, who you're free to hear from below. And if you have questions after, why, just go here. That goes for you too, firemen of Dallas.