MMarch 16 at the Hart Senior Center at 7:30 pm
(915 27th Street, 95816) Map
· March 26 at the Coloma Community Center at 7:00 pm
(4623 T Street, 95819) Map
YOUR SACRAMENTO FIREFIGHTERS WANT YOU TO KNOW…
As your firefighters, we know a little about handling times of crisis – it’s what we do every time the bell rings. That’s why we want you to know what the city’s proposed public safety cuts really mean to you.
City proposal: Eliminate 50 fire department positions, including 44 layoffs, and maintain rotating engine brownouts.
What it means: Longer response times, fewer firefighters at the scene, increased safety risks to citizens and firefighters, higher overtime costs.
City proposal: Reduce engine staffing from four (industry standard) to three.
What it means: Slower and less effective response, increased insurance and Workers Comp costs, greater risk of property damage in fire, less-effective medical response.
City proposal: Lay off 67 police officers and eliminate the vice unit.
What it means: Gang, drug and prostitution enforcement will be rolled back, community policing curtailed, patrols in high-crime areas reduced.
City proposals: Lay off nearly 200 other municipal employees and roll back after-school programs, community centers and garbage collection.
What it means: Fewer outlets for youth, especially in low-income areas, messier and less secure parks and recreational facilities.
IS IT NECESSARY?
The city says everyone needs to do their part to close a $50 million budget deficit. But look at some of the things public money is being used for at the same time we talk about putting your safety at risk:
n $5.4 million … to subsidize development of nightclubs on K Street, including one with a “Mermaid Bar”
n $55 million … for 32 acres of land at the Sacramento railyard, at nearly six-times its market value;
n $18.6 million … to buy out nine properties on K Street, at three times their assessed value;
n $5.4 million … to extend a riverfront “sidewalk to nowhere”
n $4 million … to subsidize the temporary relocation of the Greyhound Bus Station.
These may be worth doing, but when we’re talking about keeping our neighborhoods safe, is a “Mermaid Bar” really our highest priority? Firefighters respond not only to fires, but also emergency medical calls, hazardous materials incidents, and specialized rescues like water, vertical, confined space and animal rescues.
HOW TO REACH US
- We have a new website, www.firefightersforsacramentocity.org, which has all of our contact information and updates on our community involvement.
- You can also reach us at (916) 761-8013
QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Q: The city says they couldn’t redirect this spending even if they wanted to because it comes out of redevelopment funds. Could we even use this money?
A: Yes, redevelopment funds can be redirected for general fund use, and such a proposal has been offered to the council as a way to avoid deeper public safety cuts.
Q. The city and the Bee say the problem can be solved if employees take a pay cuts. Is this true?
A: No. Even if every employee in the city accepted a pay freeze, there would still be a significant hole in the budget.
Q: Can’t the fire department get by with only three people per engine, like other fire departments?
A: Fire Departments with three person companies require fire stations to be placed geographically closer to each other to provide an acceptable level of service. The City of Sacramento cannot afford to build new fire stations and add new equipment to provide the same level of service that we currently have with four person companies.
Q: The Bee says four-person staffing is just a union thing.
A: Virtually every organization’s staffing standards call for at least four, and sometimes five-person crews. These include the National Fire Protection Association, the International City Managers Association, the state and local Fire Chiefs Associations, the California Office of Emergency Services and the ISO standard used by the insurance industry to set rates. None of these are union organizations.
- Sacramento Fire Department budget has been chronically under-funded for years. Most cities spend about 66% of the budget on public safety – but in Sacramento we spend less than 50%.
- Our fire death rate more than doubles the state average and we have about 40% more fires than similar sized cities.
- Emergency call volume has increased significantly over the last 15 years, and we cannot currently meet the National Fire Protection Association recommended standards for dispatch, response and drive time.
- We understand the city budget is stretched thin, but firefighters need more resources, not less. The Fire Department has been reduced over the years in the face of increasing population growth and increasing call volume.
- Response times will increase overall. Brain death due to lack of oxygen occurs after 4 minutes. Fire doubles in size every minute.
- We have been doing more with less for decades, and we do not believe that this is the time to cut funding in any way to the fire department. It’s about the safety of every Sacramentan we serve.