You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor officials get earful about proposal to close fire stations at community forum

By Ryan J. Stanton


Fire Chief Chuck Hubbard gives an overview of his proposal to close fire stations during a community meeting at Cobblestone Farm Tuesday night.

Ryan J. Stanton |

City Administrator Steve Powers clarified Tuesday night what the plan to reorganize the Ann Arbor Fire Department means and what it doesn't mean.

"It's not a plan to reduce the number of firefighters," Powers said. "It's not a plan to reduce the department's budget. It's a plan to consolidate resources."

That involves reducing the number of open fire stations in Ann Arbor from five to three. The idea has been kicked around for months, and with the Stadium bridges set to open in November, one of the barriers to implementing the three-station model is about to disappear.


John Maguire, a lifelong city resident and firefighter, argued the fire chief's plan appears to go against a report by the International City/County Management Association, a consultant hired to study the fire department. "The study did point out our current stations were very well spaced for a good response for both fire and EMS, so cutting the stations is going against the ICMA study, which we just spent big money to have done," he said.

Ryan J. Stanton |

About 20 residents showed up Tuesday night at Cobblestone Farm as Powers and Fire Chief Chuck Hubbard held the first in a series of community meetings intended to get feedback before a decision is made.

Residents made it clear they're not interested in seeing fire stations close.

"Are you hearing us?" Sue Tarle asked Powers, urging him to find money in the budget to instead increase staffing.

"How is it possible that 10 or 15 years ago we needed six fire stations and now with more population we need less?" she said. "No, we need to staff the six that we had before and cut somewhere else."

Powers said he wasn't hired by the City Council to look at what worked 10 or 15 years ago.

"While the city's budget is improving compared to past years, it's still an ongoing challenge to try to do the best we can as staff, as managers, with the resources that have been entrusted to the city by the taxpayers," he said.

Hubbard acknowledged closing stations isn't ideal, but he said it's the department's best option for improving responses to fires given its limited staffing resources.

He agreed with residents a more preferable outcome would be to increase staffing levels and have four firefighters on duty at each of the five stations.

Powers indicated at Tuesday's meeting that would require hiring an additional 26 firefighters at a cost of about $2.3 million, which he pointed out is equal to a 0.5-mill tax. Powers said city officials aren't actually considering asking voters to approve a fire millage, though.

Hubbard pointed out the fire department is required to have four firefighters on scene before anyone can enter a burning building — unless immediate action is necessary to save a life.

The city's current response model includes three firefighters at each station, which means two trucks typically have to arrive on scene before firefighters can enter a building.

Hubbard said his plan allows the department to better meet national standards because, by bunching up its resources, four firefighters would be on duty at each of the three stations.

One station would be located on the north side of the city (Station 5 off Plymouth Road on Beal Avenue), one on the south side (Station 2 at Stadium and Packard) and one downtown (Station 1 at Fifth Avenue and Huron).

That requires reopening Station 2, which was closed several years ago, and closing Station 3 at 2130 Jackson Ave., Station 4 at 2415 Huron Parkway, and Station 6 at 1881 Briarwood Circle.

Hubbard said the goal is to have the fire department structured mainly for firefighting instead of medical responses because Huron Valley Ambulance also can respond to medical calls.

Among those in attendance were Council Members Margie Teall and Stephen Kunselman; Albert Howard, who is running for mayor; and Jack Eaton, who lost to Teall in the August primary.


Albert Howard, who is running for mayor, suggested the University of Michigan, which doesn't pay taxes to the city, should consider starting its own fire department to take care of university properties.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Eaton said he thinks if the city better prioritized it could find money in the current budget to adequately staff all five of the city's fire stations.

"I think we have enough money, we just spend it poorly," he said.

Others agreed the city isn't prioritizing fire services enough.

"The community puts (public safety) at the top of their list of priorities, so the council should do the same," said Nancy Kaplan.

"It's like anything you want — you rearrange your expenses or you take a second job," said Ruth Barnard, who lives on the west side and is concerned there won't be a station near her home.

Liz Workman, another west side resident, pointed out Ann Arbor is a highly acclaimed town known for making national "best of" lists. She said it should be ranked a top city for citizen safety.

"We should be on the top of the list because the most important thing that a city has to offer is safety for its citizens," she told the fire chief. "And the budgetary restraints that are being applied to you and your people are not what the citizens of this city want. We want safety."

Hubbard played a short video intended to show residents how a four-person truck does a better job responding than a three-person truck.

Workman said it didn't convince her the city needed to go down to three stations to achieve that, but rather that the city needed four-person crews at all five stations.

"I live on the west side and we're going to have no-man crews on our side," she said. "You need to hire enough firefighters or retain enough firefighters that you can offer four-man crews to every location in Ann Arbor and not cut the west side — or whatever side — out of the picture."

Hubbard admits his plan isn't perfect. It's aimed at getting the department closer to meeting National Fire Protection Association standards for response in more areas of the city.

The NFPA travel time standards state that four firefighters should arrive at a fire within four minutes 90 percent of the time, and 15 firefighters should arrive within eight minutes 90 percent of the time.

Based on a plotting of the actual locations of 681 fires over the past decade, Hubbard estimated the city is able to get four firefighters on scene within four minutes 36 percent of the time and a full alarm assignment of 15 firefighters in place within eight minutes 40 percent of the time.

By switching to a three-station model, Hubbard's analysis shows those percentages improving to 72 percent and 53 percent, respectively, which still fails to meet the standards.

John Maguire, a lifelong city resident and firefighter, pointed out five stations with three firefighters each (15 firefighters on duty) and three stations with four firefighters each (12 firefighters on duty) suggests that minimum daily staffing is going to be reduced.

"That's cutting our personnel, but we started out saying we weren't cutting staffing, so can we be clear? he asked. "Will our minimum manning remain the same?"


Fire Chief Chuck Hubbard waits for residents to arrive prior to the start of Tuesday night's community forum.

Ryan J. Stanton |

Hubbard said minimum daily staffing is "basically my call." He said how many firefighters are on duty is a balancing act that depends on a number of variables, including budget considerations.

Maguire argued the fire chief's plan appears to go against a report by the International City/County Management Association, a consultant hired to study the fire department.

"The study did point out our current stations were very well spaced for a good response for both fire and EMS, so cutting the stations is going against the ICMA study, which we just spent big money to have done," he said.

Hubbard acknowledged his plan to close stations is his own idea and isn't a recommendation from the ICMA report, which the city spent $54,000 to have completed.

Powers pointed out the city received federal grant money recently to hire three new firefighters, growing the department's ranks to 85 full-time employees. The City Council opted not to make room in the budget this year to increase staffing beyond that.

Powers said he's heard from council that it's a priority to add back staffing that has been cut in police and fire, but it may be an incremental process — not a sudden jump.

"The fire department is growing," he said, noting the city is spending more on fire than it did two years ago. "Employees who were laid off have been brought back. Council's intent is to have those employees remain working and not have them be laid off in the next budget year."

Howard criticized Hubbard for an email he sent to firefighters in March, instructing them not to give interviews or distribute propaganda about the restructure plan without his permission.

Howard said that wouldn't be tolerated if he were elected mayor. He said he would have a "no gag order" administration.

He later suggested the University of Michigan, which doesn't pay taxes to the city, should consider starting its own fire department to take care of university properties.

Residents who couldn't attend Tuesday's meeting still have five other chances to go to a meeting and learn more about the proposal. In addition to dates previously announced, the city is holding one last forum from 6-8 p.m. Sept. 27 at Lawton Elementary School, 2250 S. Seventh St.

Ryan J. Stanton covers government and politics for Reach him at or 734-623-2529. You also can follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's email newsletters.



Thu, Sep 27, 2012 : 10:09 p.m.

The plan actually diminishes the initial response for a fire from six to four firefighters for those in Station 5's coverage area. It also unevenly redistributes fire apparatus leaving the N and NE sides of Ann Arbor very exposed. This plan is a step in the wrong direction. Fire stations and apparatus should be located based on where the Fire Department is responding to, today, not a small percentage of where they responded to in the past decade. It might look better on paper to meet a standard for Fire Operations, but in reality, this consolidation plan makes no sense. No modern urban fire department that responds to rescue, medical, and fire calls bases their location and apparatus solely based on fires, especially when they respond to 90 times more emergency medical calls than fires. (AAFD had roughly 6,000 priority medical calls last year, versus an annual average of 68 fires in the past decade.) Locality and distribution are vital to providing a timely response, as the arrival of even one firefighter can make a tremendous difference.


Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 3:16 a.m.

At the next meeting, ask the Chief how often a truck is out of the city, either en route or in Ypsilanti or Ypsilanti Township on automatic mutual aid, and what areas were left without coverage...


Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 3:01 a.m.

This blog section is full of uninformed individuals who love to here themselves talk, we should as citizens put our trust in the Fire Chief to know what he is doing thats why we pay him. Previous chiefs have come and gone because they could not develop a plan to work within the perameters set by council, so they tucked there tails and ran. Its easy to complain but it takes courage and open mind to make change. Sometimes things that appear to be bad are actually good and I would be willing to bet that there are firefighters who know this is a good plan, but are afraid to admit it. Ask yourself why would'nt a firefighter buy into a plan thats makes his job safer ? The Chief and the City Manager have both said if the plan fails we can go back to where we started, so why not give it a try.


Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 2:23 p.m.

Maybe because it doesn't really make them safer. Maybe because it doesn't really make the citizens safer either, who they feel a responsibility to protect.


Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 2:17 a.m.

Relative wealth UM $1.6 billion ($18M FROM Athletics, $1B from tuition) Atheltic Dept. $105 million income City budget $331 million. AAPS budget $188.5 million. taxpayer budget :( A2 2012 EXPENDITURES Fund # Fund Name Amount 0001 DDA/HOUSING FUND 502,000 0002 ENERGY PROJECTS 158,462 0003 DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY 5,428,185 0009 SMART ZONE LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FINANCING AUTHORITY 1,708,191 0010 GENERAL 78,922,541 includes******* police 25,592,784 includes******* fire 13,381,132) 0011 CENTRAL STORES 1,571,428 0012 FLEET SERVICES 9,836,345 0014 INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY 6,184,238 0016 COMMUNITY TELEVISION NETWORK 1,843,116 0018 PARKS REHAB & DEVELOPMENT MILLAGE 55,302 0021 MAJOR STREET 6,808,905 0022 LOCAL STREET 1,710,662 0024 OPEN SPACE & PARKLAND PRESERVATION 2,330,461 0026 CONSTRUCTION CODE FUND 2,240,353 0033 DDA PARKING MAINTENANCE 1,881,900 0035 GENERAL DEBT SERVICE 10,044,133 0036 METRO EXPANSION 360,422 0042 WATER SUPPLY SYSTEM 19,524,948 0043 SEWAGE DISPOSAL SYSTEM 19,800,885 0047 GOLF ENTERPRISE 1,577,317 0048 AIRPORT 817,900 0049 PROJECT MANAGEMENT 4,408,764 0056 ART IN PUBLIC PLACES 334,660 0057 RISK FUND 27,543,953 0059 EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM 32,135,473 0062 STREET REPAIR MILLAGE 14,914,060 0063 DDA PARKING SYSTEM 14,819,243 0069 STORMWATER SEWER SYSTEM 5,659,428 0071 PARK MAINTENANCE & CAPITAL IMPROVEMENTS 5,315,169 0072 SOLID WASTE FUND 15,186,914 0082 STORMWATER BOND 1,925,000 0088 SEWER BOND 9,733,000 0089 WATER BOND 4,341,000 00MG MAJOR GRANT PROGRAMS FUND 178,407 others total $312,182,605


Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 1:37 a.m.

Sigh. It's all about Art again.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 6:20 p.m.

If we wish to change the direction that AA is going, we need to vote out the current leadership and city council - all of them. If the majority of AA voters keep supporting the current group, we will continue to see waste, poor decisions, a lack of visionary leadership, following personal agendas and room for many of us to complain without resolution - in our opinion.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 6:13 p.m.

If the city is purchasing a 2 person rescue truck, does this still keep 4 firefighters on the engine? If medicals are not the cities priority, why are they purchasing a rescue truck?


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

With all the discussion on this board you would think that venue would be packed with citizenry. Looks pretty empty to me


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 3:37 p.m.

This is a perfect example of local government run amok. In order to pay for unfunded pension agreements negotiated by the very people that stood to benefit from them, the citizens are forced to make a choice to live with reduced services fire protection and city services (pothole filling, garbage pickup, etc.) that their taxes are assessed to pay for in the first place. We should never have been placed in a position to have to decide which fire station to close in the first place. Poor city management has depleted and continues to deplete resources that should have always funded these vital services. Giving Neil Berlin 80% of his salary after five years(!) of service to retire in beautiful Colorado is not proper stewardship of our hard earned tax dollars! When will people (and actually discuss the real problem that got us here in the first place?


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 7:52 p.m.

Good points. But....we are here. Basically, now we have to make sure that things do not get worse.

Joel A. Levitt

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 3:22 p.m. This is a serious matter. Please solicit and publish a detailed argument by Powers and Hubbard as to why their proposal should be adopted.

Pat Ardner

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 3:21 p.m.

The City should change their budget priorities. Instead of spending money on stupid "art", designate the money toward fire protection services. Whoever chooses the "art" be sent to Outer Mongolia. The people there might appreciate the "art work" we have to suffer with. Guess it's time for new people in our city government. Use your head people, we need the 5 fire stations and not the 3 that are being proposed. Ask the staff of the fire department (except the chief) what they think about this plan!


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 2:35 p.m.

Fewer stations = better protection Fewer lanes = better traffic flow Am I detecting a pattern here?


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 9:04 p.m.

@Hunterjim, how about eliminating the mayor's position. Wouldn't that promote better government?


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 5:22 p.m.

Fewer council people...better government!

Dominick Lanza

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 2:33 p.m.

This is smoke and mirrors 3 stations at 4 people equals 12, 5 stations at 3 people equal 15 so there is a reduction in the firefighters on duty of 3. Also add to that the 2 man wonder truck( no water or hose) responding instead of an engine on any given day it drops to 11. I dont work in Ann Arbor anymore because I refused to go along with the city's desire to dangerously reduce fire fighting capabilities and risk firefighter and citizens lives. I also wonder why the city can spread "propaganda" on this matter but the firefighters have a gag order? Perhaps the city doesnt want educated oposing opinions or factual information out so the public can make an informed decision. This problem could be solved easily if the University paid their fair share of the cost instead of being shielded by the state. Dominick Lanza, Former Fire Chief AAFD


Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

Sounds like sour grapes to me

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 3:32 a.m.

@Dominick Lanza: Thanks for speaking up, sir!

Kai Petainen

Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

A while back, the Ann Arbor fire department responded to a call. It involved a lot of work over the course of one evening. That call was on UofM grounds, as they were responding to an incident that flowed through UofM grounds. The cause was unknown, but it was a UofM matter, as they were held responsible for reporting. (AAFD report) From my understanding of the event, the AAFD did not receive $$ from the UofM, nor were they ever thanked for the fantastic work they did that night. Their honorable work went unthanked. The AAFD should be thanked for the work they did that night and they should be paid accordingly. Also, according to the AAFD report, it was 88% confidence of phosphoric acid. If true, then the city should investigate this event more thoroughly and find out who was responsible. Find out who did it, charge them, and you'll get the money to save jobs at the fire department.

music to my ear

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 10:54 p.m.

ok Billy Bob thanks for clearing that up for me .but do you and others agree,that school is really really rich.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

Music...The BIg House and all of Michigan athletic operations are paid for through separate funds, not through the University's general fund. In other words, the athletic department is financially separate from the U. Spending money on athletics, or not spending on athletics, has no connection to the U paying for fire or police protection, or pretty much anything else.

music to my ear

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 7:14 p.m.

if the u helped anyone but themselves in a2 there would not be any money issues. their main concern is adding more and more to the big house that college has had a free ride way..............too long.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 4 p.m.

As you well know Chief, the city governors sit back in their quiet little rooms and rely on the fact that in an emergency the surrounding departments will come help as much as possible and make it look like there is adequate safety personnel. I just wish that the city council and their fire chief would visit a half dozen similar college towns like South Bend, Columbus, Madison, Lexington etc... and see what an unbiased city council can acheive when negotiating public policy with a major university. I feel like our city charter should not allow the university to employ (at any level) any member of city administration. There seems to be a significant fear of the Michigan muscle in our council chambers.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

What a laugher! Close two fire stations and not reduce the department's budget? I'm sure when the powers to be find that there will be savings, they'll spend it on public art or to buy up vacant land surrounding Ann Arbor. Cosmetics trump citizen safety!


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 2:07 p.m.

Ann Arbor needs to look at a new model of providing public safety. Kalamazoo has a Public Safety Department. Police and Fire are cross trained. They keep one "driver" in the fire station to drive the truck to the scene, the other firefighters are cross trained police officers who respond in their police vehicles. We could have 6 fire fighters stationed in the 6 stations, and have 6 firefighters on patrol as police. We could also have all the other police officers cross trained, thus having numerous firefighters all over the city to respond to health related emergencies. When we don't have a fire, we have additional police on the streets. Perhaps also use some "on call" volunteers as well. Troy has an all volunteer fire department. Of course, the police and firefighters union will be against this concept.


Fri, Sep 28, 2012 : 8:54 a.m.

Kalamazoo also pays their PSO's $33 an hour, not $14 like the Ann Arbor FD!

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 3:37 a.m.

@A2brooksie: Another flaw with your plan is that the city of Ann Arbor only fields 5 or 6 officers citywide on patrol most shifts for the entire city. We already have too few police spread too thinly.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 6 p.m.

If you were to take the Kalamazoo model and apply it to a city such as Ann Arbor, you would need to add up all the fire fighters and the cops, then hire about 3 times that to match the Kalamazoo 'ideal' model.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

So if I wanted to tie up police resources in order to facilitate some nefarious deed... oh say rob a bank, maybe shoot up a school or movie theatre... I should start by committing arson across town and then pillage at my leisure? Great idea!!! NOT!

Ricardo Queso

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 1:22 p.m.

I've got it! "2% for fire stations"!


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

Chief Hubbard is nothing more than a mouthpiece for city council! They are the ones that should be answering these questions. Chief Hubbard can use all the smoke and mirrors he wants ANYONE that can walk and chew gum knows this is NOT a good plan. Hubbard pointed out the fire department is required to have four firefighters on scene before anyone can enter a burning building — unless immediate action is necessary to save a life. And how do they know the difference if they are not willing or able to enter a burning building? Does someone have to be holding their child out the window?


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 1:18 p.m.

Why does everything always come down to a tax increase? "cost of about $2.3 million, which he pointed out is equal to a 0.5-mill tax" Why not prioritize the budget so that this is covered and maybe something like the "ART Fund" or "Green" Street lights or DDA get a reduced level of funding? Where are you Jane Lumm when we need you?

not a billy

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

The logical solution would be to hang some art on the fire trucks and use them as mobile art galleries. Think about it - the art would be getting into every neighborhood, the FD guys keep them really clean, and the city could gain international recognition for something else to brag about. This would seem to solve the dilemma of having money to spend on art and not public safety. The art funds would be used to buy the mobile galleries (a.k.a. fire trucks), therefore releasing the current truck expenditures for fire fighters and police officers. Best of everything.

not a billy

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 1:05 p.m.

Now AAFD is buying a fire truck that can do everything except fight fire, and maybe a second one. If the concern is that they have to have four fire fighters on scene to fight fire, but two of them are running around in a big red tool box with no water to handle a majority of the daily calls, it seems like this is self-defeating. And they are thinking about a second one like it? What about the new $1M+ aerial tower that is too tall to fit in Station 2 on Stadium Blvd., but somewhere in the Fire Chief's plan is to have the tower at Station 2. Maybe they can take off the handrails on top of the ladder to make it fit? Lots of rhetoric, not a real clear picture of what the plan really is. Seems like parts of the ICMA report are getting implemented when it is easy & convenient, other parts being ignored. Somebody should look up the word "plan" in the dictionary.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 1 p.m.

Thinking outside the box. Today we approach the staffing problem like so: We have X dollars to spend and each Firefighter costs us Y dollars per year, so we can only afford X/Y firefighters. Why do we not approach the problem from the other direction: We have X dollars to spend and require Z firefighters, so we can only afford to pay each firefighter X/Z per year.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 7:43 p.m.

It did appear that an HVA representative was at our community forum meeting on whether or not to close down fire stations. Interesting?


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 3:48 p.m.

If you really want to get outside the Ann Arbor/Hubbard box, think ALS. The money available to the city everyday from insurance companies that pay for emergency transports is enough to put the whole city in the surplus category. HVA is the bully that won't let the local fire departments establish an emergency transport service, but consistently requires the fire personnel to assist (and often run) emergency scenes. The amount of money that they bring in every year from AAFD assisted transports far exceeds this safety deficit. But then Chief Hubbard never liked medical responses anyway.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 1:50 p.m.

You're a genius... in your world.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

We aren't buying it, mayor/council. Why? Because we all know we can do better than that. We have the money and the knowledge, but you just can't get behind the idea of spending the money on what the citizens want rather than what *you* want. Let's spend the money on the citizens rather than the tourists for a change.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

Note: I will still be OK with extinguishing tourists if they are on fire.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:59 p.m.

These hearings are a complete waste of time. They were ordered by city hall to make you think they're listening. They're NOT. They'll do exactly what they've planned to do all along. I just hope the fire station nearest the mayor's home is closed so he personally assumes the most risk in the event of a fire.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 6:22 p.m.

How do we spell 'being patronized'?


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

Actually, I believe he lives nearest to the soon to be re-opened station 2 behind dairy queen.

Linda Peck

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:56 p.m.

p.s. We have way too much real estate investment interests on city council from what I can see. There is a lot of talk on city council about new real estate development. Why is that I wonder? Let's talk police and fire departments. Let's have a quality city with good roads and low crime, rather than showing off our new high rises. I like new development, but perhaps not to the extent of the mayor and some of the city council members. Can we have some balance here?

Linda Peck

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:48 p.m.

I will attend one of these meetings and I will voice my opinion that these fire stations should NOT be closed and there should be increased fire personnel to man them. We need fire services to be a priority. We have a lovely town, but we will not have this if we don't protect our citizens. Money is being spent on frippery and it needs to be spent on basic services. I agree with Mr. Howard, the University needs to step up to the plate on fire protection, also. I am going to place my vote for Mr Howard in the mayoral election.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:39 p.m.

That Chief Hubbard is put in the position of suggesting closing stations and settling for substandard response times is absolutely unconscionable. Public safety is the first priority of a City government. It must precede all else -- there can be no discussion about parks, art, affordable housing, monorails or anything else until public safety is adequately addressed. That the Mayor and Council abrogate their fundamental responsibility to the citizens so brazenly speaks to a failure on the part of the press and the citizenry to pay attention. Shame on them, and shame on us.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:14 p.m.

Amazing....comments critical of the city council on this issue weren't deleted this time....

Kyle Mattson

Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 5:43 p.m.

Billy if there is a specific article you are referring to regarding comment removal please let me know.

music to my ear

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:37 p.m.

thats because a2 knows its a joke ,to cut the fire stations. they want the people heard and the people have more common sense. than............ you know.

Rose Garden

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:08 p.m.

Why is anyone considering the spending of revenues from the sale of four city-owned properties to build affordable housing, thereby attracting more homeless folks to our city, when we need to support a first-rate fire department?

Jim Osborn

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:27 p.m.

Because it is a pet project

music to my ear

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 11:44 a.m.

consolidate this. Art fund.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 11:32 a.m.

The city would have plenty of money for necessities like fire safety, policing and fixing our roads (and sidewalks) if it hadn't squandered over $100 million on the Rog Mahal, Garage Mahal and the Huronal, or run up a $200 million deficit in the pension and retirement healthcare funds.

Ann English

Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 12:08 a.m.

I had been waiting for someone to mention the public sector unions causing city government deficits. The lavish pensions of public sector union members of yesteryear are impossible to sustain with a shrinking private sector to fund them, but the mainstream media keeps quiet about it.

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 10:49 a.m.

"The NFPA travel time standards state that four firefighters should arrive at a fire within four minutes 90 percent of the time, and 15 firefighters should arrive within eight minutes 90 percent of the time." "By switching to a three-station model, Hubbard's analysis shows those percentages improving to 72 percent and 53 percent, respectively, which still fails to meet the standards." "Hubbard said the goal is to have the fire department structured mainly for firefighting instead of medical responses because Huron Valley Ambulance also can respond to medical calls." HVA's staffing model is to respond on average to an emergency call in Ann Arbor in 10 minutes. Having fire fighters who are now first responders for emergency calls, only respond to fires means some citizens with medical emergencies will die. Six minutes is often the difference between life and death. It is shameful that a city as wealthy as Ann Arbor does not provide its citizens with fire services that meet national standards for response times. City council needs to act to veto this proposal and override the Mayor, City Manager and Fire Chief and city council needs to direct them to rescind the illegal gag order on the fire fighters.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 4:17 p.m.

@ Jim Osborn, Sorry to burst your bubble around your volunteer community, but those people do get paid for their services( it's called a paid-on-call work force) and they are woefully understaffed at every fire they respond to. The reason AA needs to keep a full time and adequately staffed department is the risk and hazard levels within the city. What most people forget is that these full time employees do something that most never realize or think about. They make plans from the first day on the job to risk their lives at a moment's notice for anyone who needs them. Rich or poor, citizen or passerby, they don't ask why, just what they can do to help. This mindset is what makes them special and in need of our support in spite of the efforts of this council and it's puppets.

Jim Osborn

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

I must have missed the stats about how many times the AAFD actually entered a buring building, Vs arriving first and providing medical care, perhaps to a heart attack victim. How often is a life saved by entering a building Vs medical care? If a 3 man crew arrives at a fire, and it happens to be a rare one that is larger and they might need to enter the building, could they not begin fighting it, setting up hoses and such and spraying the fire? Meanwhile, they would have communicated te escope of the fire and a second crew soon arrives from a second station? Or, perhaps it is time for some of the AAPD to be dual trained and be able to be the 4th man for these rare fires. After all, some communities do have all volunteer fire depts, even townships just north of us.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:15 p.m.

ONE problem with your're expecting the city council to actually do something....

Stephen Lange Ranzini

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 11:43 a.m.

A correction: according to the ICMA study of fire safety in Ann Arbor, HVA's actual performance has been better. HVA's average response time was 7.3 minutes in Ann Arbor. 3 minutes (or 3.3 minutes) could be the difference between life and death for some.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 10:42 a.m.

Close the art fund and DDA, open any closed fire stations and staff AAFD to standards that will allow them to protect the city in the most efficient and effective fashion.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 10:37 a.m.

And Nero fiddled while Rome burned.............

Alan Goldsmith

Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 10:24 a.m.

Steve Powers needs to receive this message loud and clear--citizens of Ann Arbor are not going to roll over and keep their months shut when it comes to excuses about safety being just too expensive for the City to afford. Perhaps this plan should be vetted by the new council taking office after November, because from the August Democratic Primary, most of those who were running that supported the idea to cut fire and police staff were defeated. I suggest Mr. Powers and other City Official get on board with putting safety first or the voters will find folks who will.


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:35 p.m.

City counsel members should REDUCE their take home pay !!!


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 10:23 a.m.

It is amazing that this discussion of closing fire stations continues while the art fund grows. Boggles the mind.


Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 12:54 a.m.

How about we take the 0.5 mils that AATA is going to ask for and instead invest it in Safety services for the City?


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 10:16 a.m.

"I think we have enough money, we just spend it poorly," he said. This is correct. Stop saying yes to new millages and instead force the city to stop WASTING money. They have PLENTY of it. That we have a completely new City Hall (and still using and refurbishing the old one, by the way), tear-down/buildup and expansion of bus stations, Art (and bad art, at that), but not an ideal fire fighting situation is reprehensible.


Thu, Sep 20, 2012 : 12:55 a.m.

How much are we going to have to spend to re-open Station 2?? This money could maybe keep an additional Fire Station open?? Just a thought!


Wed, Sep 19, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

BAD ART, like the one if front of City hall. That is pitiful.