Public safety should never be cut from a budget. No one has ever complained that we have too many fire stations. Sometimes hard choices have to be made, but this is not the right choice. It's like deciding that you won't refill the brake fluid in your car because you can't afford it, but you have to drive your car in order to keep your job. Something else has to be cut, or you have to find a way to increase your income.
Here's something sent to me by a Waterbury fireman:
It is being argued that the closing of these firehouses would save the taxpayers from paying higher property taxes. Unfortunately, it would have an adverse affect on the cities ISO rating. The ISO rates municipalities from 1 to 5 with 1 being the best. Presently, Waterbury has a rating of 3. An increase in our ISO rating would mean higher insurance premiums charged by the insurance companies. The difference in the premiums charged could quite possibly be more than the savings realized from the closure of firehouses.
Here's another way to look at it, in terms of city finances: worst case scenario, closing those fire stations means that someone living near one of them loses their home and all their belongings because the remaining fire stations, and then they or their insurance company decides to sue the city for negligence (or something like that--I'm not an attorney!). Flat out worst case scenario: someone loses their life because their neighborhood fire station was closed.
There is a budget hearing tonight at Kennedy High School, 7 p.m. If you can, please attend and demand that the city not endanger our lives by shutting down these fire stations.