05/10/07 192 W, 1 I - + 19 - 21 Fire Commission Meeting

Tonight's meeting was a hoot and a half. Three big issues took the bulk of the evening: next year's budget ($1.8M fewer uncommitted funds, no new staffing), Wake Forest's request for a 3,000-gallon pumper-tanker (sent back to committee), and approval for the long-planned renovation/rebuild of Bay Leaf Station #1 ($4.79 million) bundled with funding for an east-side-of-Wake-County station for FY2010 (another $2 mil, both approved). The discussions were quite colorful, though hard to hear this time. (The EMS classroom is configured in a way, it was explained, that you can either amplify speakers or show presentations but not both.) The high point? Chief Swift's superbly detailed presentation on why his department wants what it wants. The low point? As noted by at least one member, the persistent lack of unifying vision that ties staffing, facility, budget, and other subcommittee efforts together. Curious occasional confusion, as well, on the part of members during discussion and even voting. 'Twas a long, loquacious night. Contact the county fire-rescue office for an audio recording of this public meeting, but set aside some time for listening. Tonight took three hours.

And, I guess, call your county commissioner if you don’t like what happened with one of the above issues. They’re the final say.
Legeros - 05/10/07 - 23:17

and still no staffing.
WCFirefighter - 05/11/07 - 11:02

Was there circus music playing during the meeting?
Wayne - 05/11/07 - 12:46

Maybe one day the county will understand that firefighters make a difference not fire stations. Put the money where it is needed most, the staff !!!!!!!!
[Jason] - 05/11/07 - 20:01

4 million dollars towards a station renovation cut that in half give 2 million towards station renovation and 2 million towards staffing, you get about 65 full time firefighters at 30,000 a pop.
Roger - 05/11/07 - 21:46

This topic is also being discussed on the Watch Desk and includes this well-thought comment: http://www.thewatchdesk.com/forum/showth..
Legeros - 05/11/07 - 21:51

roger, thats is a good idea, but 2 million would only give you 14 positions, 3 people per position. 42 firefighters. You have to include your bene’s and taxes. each firefighter that makes 30k per year cost the department 43k per year. I agree we should have staffing as the first priority.
klp205 - 05/12/07 - 08:13

Regarding operational (staffing) versus capital (facility) spending, the latter is a one-time versus ongoing expense. Or as someone said Thursday, instead of building a station, we can hire a bunch of firefighters. But will we have to fire them the next year?
Legeros - 05/12/07 - 08:25

I know we need stations, but without the firefighters to put in the station, the only expense you are sure to see are lawsuits or worse. John Q public will not understand when a pretty new engine, that came out of a pretty new station, pulls up on a structure fire and cant put his/her house out because there isnt enough people on the truck. So I agree with Roger, cutt spending on these stations and put some people in them.
[Jason] - 05/12/07 - 17:27

I know this is kind of off topic from this discussion but what about volunteers, doesnt have to be all of raleigh but maybe a few station with volunteers? What do you guys think about the current volunteer fire depts like morrisville?
Adam - 05/13/07 - 20:14

If it works, it works.
Roger - 05/13/07 - 22:06

Just wondering what kind of renovations are taking place for 4.9 million. You couuld tear it down rebuild it and still have money in the bank.
David L. (Email) - 05/14/07 - 11:05

The Bay Leaf station project is a REBUILD, not a renovation, as I incorrectly noted. From a meeting handout, the facility will replace the present BLFD station with a 14,700 square-foot headquarters station. The two-story facility will support 24/7 operations with code-compliant sleeping areas, training space, and office space for admin functions. The station’s service area is expected to remain unincorporated for the next 25 years, thus the choice to remain in that location (coupled with the watershed restrictions which would require a giant, pricey parcel if built elsewhere). Costs (in FY 2005) dollars include $285K for planning and design, $1 mil for site/civil/septic/landscape, and $2.89 mil for building construction. Ownership of the building— BLFD or the county or a combination— is TBD. The architect is Stewart Cooper & Newell. That’s the short and hopefully accurate version.
Legeros - 05/14/07 - 21:23


for more details and a potential drawing
CFP 7021 (Email) - 05/14/07 - 22:57

I have been told that the new Bay Leaf station is going to have a pole or 2 in it as well. It is funny that a lot has been said about BL getting a new station but no one has agreed or disagreed about Garner getting a 4th one, that is after all what the other money was budgeted for. I have heard it is a joint venture between the town and county.
Ear to the ground! - 05/15/07 - 15:57

Regarding the other fire station that received budget approval, the facility is planned for FY2010 and will cover “no man’s land” on the east side of the county, east of Garner. As reported in the meeting, the county either is in or will be in negotiations with Garner Fire Department to see if they’re interested in contracted operation of same. I believe they also indicated that a location had been identified. Not sure what the town’s role in the facility is.
Legeros - 05/15/07 - 17:27

white oak area?
CFP 7021 (Email) - 05/15/07 - 19:07

I have heard a little further east toward Raynor Rd.
Ear to the ground - 05/15/07 - 23:39

Ohhh the fire commission…..

Yes, the elusive Fire Commission. Some question to their legal authority in the management and oversight of taxpayer money (some one please agree or clarify…)

I know the fire commission was “created” by the County Commissioners to make recommendations regarding the operation and administration of the Wake County Fire Service. I also know their website is not current. What I donít understand is why the fire commission seats are “appointed”, and not Elected like the school board. Does not the school board in wake county make decisions on administration and operation of the school system? And with those Elected seats, the people who are affected the most (citizens, students, and employees of the schools) are allowed some say-so over Who sits on that board by way of a vote. That sounds democratic, yes? Then where do we as firefighters (employees) and Citizens stand? Where do we stand when members of the commission are in seats which they should not be in (department affiliation in a citizen seat).

I’ve always wondered this, since the fire commission has a few hands tied in this county with regards to a Progressive fire service. My main point here is, how many of you think the seats should be elected publicly by district, like they are with the school board; versus being restricted to Fire Chiefs from only departments which receive county funding, and citizens with deep pockets and private agendas (let us not forget the only 2 Democratically elected positions, that of the WC Firefighter’s Association President and Commissioner Coble). Donít get me wrong, I like the idea of Regional Representation in the fire service seats. My main concern is the CITIZEN seats.

How many Citizens in Wake County do you think know about this “Fire Commission” that deals with public funds, when they meet, what they do, and how to contact representatives?

Just a thought
Concerned WCFirefighter (Email) - 05/19/07 - 15:46

This page on the county site, http://www.wakegov.com/commissions/,, has some information on boards and committees.
Legeros - 05/19/07 - 16:37

Remember personal info?

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