To the editor:
The safety of our citizens can be achieved with existing facilities. No levy is required to purchase another EMS vehicle and staff it. In the spring the emphasis was facility location of a new fire station #3, now the emphasis is staffing, yet little on the long term costs of a third fire station.
What justifies the varied number of fire stations for different communities? Cities throughout the state use the National Fire Protection Association 1710 standards to configure and operate their fire and EMS operations and are applicable to both Piqua and Sidney. A satisfactory explanation has not been obtained as to why with almost identical populations and square miles covered, Piqua has one fire station and Sidney wants a third fire station. Other communities similar to Sidney with 20,000 population are Ashland that has 1 fire station covering 62 sq. miles with 4177 calls in 2018. Lebanon, 2 fire stations and Rocky River, 1.
Chief Jones answered a question saying that Station 3… “could potentially handle a greater call volume since staff at Station 3 may go further south of Russell Road because it could be closer than Station 1.” It is my belief that building Station #3 wouldn’t change the fact they’d be spending most of their time responding to calls downtown.
According to the Census, the city of Sidney has had a declining population since 2010, no population growth has occurred since that time and the city has been satisfactory covered by our fire department.
Call volume has increased 39.5% since 2010 (COS document 5.7.19). With that being the case, 60% for the call volume is for Station 1 with approximately 75% being ambulatory calls. Purchasing another ambulance for Station 1 and staffing can be achieved without a permanent tax increase levy.
City Council and Chief Jones have headed down an expensive path of spending tax dollars on land purchase ($337,250), conceptual design, initial engineering and levy consultant ($50,000). Pending levy passage, another ($275,000) is budgeted for the next phase of design for the estimated ($4,300,000) station which will require hiring an additional 3 lieutenants and 4 firefighters with an operating cost for just 8 years estimated at ($13,700,000). SDN 3-15–19. It wont end there, a tactical village and a public safety training center are being looked at. Vote “NO” on the permeant tax increase for fire station #3.