The wrong approach
Here’s a bad idea: The Anchorage Fire Department, at the Berkowitz administration’s behest, is proposing $2.4 million in cuts in its $99 million budget, cuts that likely would add substantially to wait times in emergencies on the Hillside, Stuckagain Heights or on the Seward Highway.
In a city with a budget approaching half a billion dollars – and yet running a $3 million deficit – it could be argued that reducing fire protection is a poor way to make ends meet.
Almost certainly there are more than $2 million in other cuts that could be made among less essential services. The proposed $2.3 million move of the police department’s HQ to the former Legislative Information Office downtown springs immediately to mind.
Public safety, after all, is one of the few legitimate jobs of government and a move that would increase wait times in areas threatened by wildfires each summer, or by accidents along the Seward Highway year-round seems at odds with the department’s mission and the city’s obligation.
From our perspective, cutting the fire department is the wrong approach to a budget deficit. It will be interesting to see how the Assembly reacts.