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Question of the Week: Budget vs. Safety

One of the most difficult dilemmas that local government has to face- reinstate three full time firefighters or keep precious general fund reserve dollars- what would you do?

On its face, the question of how many firefighters a town needs seems like a simple equation that the City Manager or Fire Chief could figure out on a napkin, but with Council debate delving into details like how many times a piece of equipment on a certain rig was used in a year, it was made clear how complicated the issue really is. Bring in factors of political loyalties and upcoming City Council elections, and you've got yourself a confusing situation.

For months the Santee City Council has grappled with the question of that were enabled by money given to the city during the ramp up to the failed - firefighters that were added in expectation of a serious population jump in the city.

They originally debated, and seemed to have settled the matter and not kept the positions, when the - though continued closed session meetings with the Firefighters Association deemed that unlikely.

The issue was and was the main topic of debate at the meetings until they .

I'm keeping these poll answers simple, yes, no or I don't know, so that you can elaborate in the comments. Let us know what you think about emergency safety and budgets in Santee.

Have a poll idea to pitch?  Shoot us a note at steven.bartholow@patch.com

Have more to say, or would you choose an option not available? Post a comment. And, feel free to vote in previous polls, which can be found below.

Suzie Siebern November 11, 2011 at 11:59 PM
That seems like a lot of money. What is all factored into the $568,000?
Steven Bartholow (Editor) November 12, 2011 at 12:33 AM
Three full time firefighters filling one position on a rig (it takes 3 fighters to fill one position at all times) for the rest of this fiscal year and the next fiscal year (until June of 2013). Their pay, health insurance, other benefits and all costs associated with their jobs factor in (not counting the cost of larger equipment like the rig they are on). Pretty much all of the costs to the city (and the taxpayers) associated with keeping the firefighters. Here's the story about the meeting: http://patch.com/A-nB30 and attached to this article is a PDF breakdown from the city on budget amendments and costs of firefighters added in.
rudy reyes November 12, 2011 at 10:52 PM
Politicians only real job is PUBLIC SAFETY!!! Our Santee Council is controlled by business, they care for own $$$, not safety! Vote them out! All of the council! Need regular citizens on council not business men! Someone in chamber of commerce shouldn't be on city Council!
Doug Curlee November 13, 2011 at 03:52 AM
uh.. rudy.. hate to tell you this.. but.. y'see..firefighters ARE public safety.. i guess your campaign is now officially underway, huh? doug
Captain Awesome November 14, 2011 at 03:03 PM
Score another one for Doug Curlee.
Steven Bartholow (Editor) November 16, 2011 at 06:44 AM
Something happened with this poll and it looks like it got deleted. It was right after a system overhaul for the site, so maybe it was related to that. It was getting little attention anyways... another question comes soon.

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