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.


2 Responses to The wrong approach

  1. Karl Schroeder November 4, 2018 at 11:10 am

    My insurance company, State Farm, required that if your local FD were unable to deliver a minimum amount of water to a fire, then you would pay a higher premium. This situation was in Fairbanks, but the same would probably apply here. Fairbanks borough has service districts with volunteer fire departments.

  2. Morrigan November 4, 2018 at 2:09 pm

    With respect, Mr. Editor, it’s a grand idea.
    Create a crisis, real or imaginary doesn’t matter, that causes people to look away televisions and cellular telephones long enough to demand some kind of law and tax against productive citizens to make the crisis go away.
    So, expect our Anchorage Peoples Assembly to “react” just like they did with the perennial SAP crisis: some public-sector union-management team wants more money, doesn’t matter for what, give ’em more money.
    Problem solved.


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