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Posted on Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 5:59 a.m.

Ann Arbor Fire Station 3 will see intermittent closures to address cost overruns

By Juliana Keeping

Editor's note: The number of firefighters laid off last year has been corrected in this story.

A fire station on Ann Arbor's west side will be closed intermittently, starting with a 24-hour closure on Sunday, because the Fire Department has exceeded its overtime budget, Fire Chief Dominick Lanza said Friday.

A memo sent Wednesday to all Ann Arbor Fire Department personnel states that intermittent closures of Fire Station 3, 2130 Jackson Ave., will continue until further notice. Lanza said he expects the station to be closed three or four days per month.

In 2010, the department cut $1 million from its $14.6 million operating budget and eliminated five positions. The budget future doesn’t look bright for the next two years, according to the memo from Lanza, which states, “this policy may become permanent.”

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The Ann Arbor Fire Department will have one less station in service on some days because of overtime cost overruns.

Mid-way through its fiscal year, the department has exceeded its $357,000 overtime budget, Lanza said Friday. A higher-than-average number of firefighters have been taking unexpected long-term leaves for family and medical reasons, he said. Firefighters have also been calling in sick this year at high numbers with illnesses like the flu, he said.

That means there are fewer people to staff to respond to calls, increasing the need for overtime.

Fire Station 3 was chosen for intermittent closures because it receives fewer calls than the other five Ann Arbor stations, Lanza said.

Station 1, 111 N. Fifth Ave., is the busiest station in Ann Arbor. It responded to 7,136 fire incident calls over three-year period starting in 2008, compared to 1,699 calls at Fire Station 3, Lanza said.

The Fire Department has three other stations: Station 4, 2415 Huron Parkway; Station 5, 1946 Beal Ave.; and Station 6, 1881 Briarwood Circle. Station 2 was closed several years ago.

While it had the fewest calls, Fire Station 3 was the closest one to a Jan. 29 blaze in which two people died. Fire Station 3 is staffed with three people at a time and has one fire engine. Twenty on-duty firefighters responded to the Jan. 29th fire and rescued an unconscious man and woman from the basement of a home on the city's west side after a fire broke out on the first floor. The two later died.

If Station 3 had been closed, Lanza said, “The response time would not be as quick and fire would have had more of a chance to advance.” “It’s not something we want to do, it’s something we have to do. All of us, no matter what business we’re in, have to operate with our funding."

He said the city has had to make tough choices.

Lanza said the new policy came about after City Administrator Roger Fraser directed him to address the overtime cost overruns. He said new signs are scheduled to arrive Thursday that will let the public know when the station is closed.

The fire department finds itself on the chopping block in 2011 as the city looks to confront a $2.4 million budget deficit for the next fiscal year. At a recent city budget retreat, top city officials discussed the option of adopting a paid on-call approach to fire services in Ann Arbor.

The firefighters union maintains the fire department already is understaffed and does not meet national standards. Staffing levels in the department remained steady at 94 full-time employees for the last several years, until five positions were cut last year, resulting in four layoffs.

Formal budget proposals for the police and fire departments are due next week.

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Juliana Keeping is a health and environment reporter for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter



Mon, Feb 14, 2011 : 1:42 a.m.

@ Julianna Keeping, The three most popular comments might need a" little correcting" on their content , maybe you could check these claims out? Before these ridiculous theories are taken as fact. As for the Blue flu that is being mentioned, that tactic is usually used in lieu of a strike, The fire dept. is not doing anything of the sort and that could be checked out easily by asking either fire admin. or city admin.. Regarding "bizarre wave of illness", firefighting and EMS work are physically demanding jobs, and injuries are common not neccessarily illnesses. And for the rest of that comment, maybe a career in creative writing is in this persons future. Finally, no other jobs give sick days or time off? Is it up hill both ways when you walk to work in the snow too?

Fat Bill

Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 5:15 p.m.

It is my understanding that that Station 1 houses a Battalion Chief, A rescue/engine company and a ladder company. How about moving the rescue/engine company to station 3, at least during the staffing issue? There's room to park there. The Rescue pumper has the right equipment for many of the spectacular accidents that occur in the area of I-94/Jackson, and at least when nothing else is brewing, first response times would be less compromised on the west side. There is no reason to leave an entire section of the City with no first-responders in their district...

Edward Vielmetti

Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 5:20 a.m.

I wrote about the flu this week <a href=""></a> and if you look at the county flu numbers here <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> you'll see a steady increase in reported flu cases since the first of the year.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 2:50 a.m.

Public workers are taxpayers too. Regardless of where they live. Being a public worker does not get you cheaper gas, electric or tax breaks. You would think they were tax exempt by some of the posts. One thing is for certain, they will not get bonuses when the market turns and there is always a lag in public sector pay. This seems to get lost in the argument about public vs private compensation. You private sector I dont get this and I dont get that and I lost my retirement want others to &quot;feel the pain&quot; and &quot;pay their fair share.&quot; The very people who service us 24-7 including holidays. Good grief. It's a typical elitist mentatality. Thank you PA 312 for keeping public safety workers on the job. It's a quid pro quo for not going on strike. Period. Shame on A2 officials for the continuous blame the employee propoganda.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 2:06 p.m.

Why is everyone out to get each other? Why can't you people support your LOCAL FIREFIGHTERS!?!?!?!?!?! Just because they get something you don't, doesn't mean you have to act childish. It's time to be adults about this. You private sector people make more than the average firefighter ever will!!!!! FF's work 24/7, and holidays and birthdays and their kids birthdays and their mothers 90th birthday... These men and women take their time away from their families to save YOUR life. What's worth more to you? Your life or their benefits and pay and time-off? These brave men and women fight hot fires to save YOUR house and your loved ones and you want them gone? You want them paid-on-call? Shame on you for wanting that in this town. Look around. Look at a busy football Saturday. Bye bye house. This town needs it's firefighters, it needs its police officers and it needs it's reassurance that at night if something happens to our family members, we can sleep safe and sound knowing these brave men and women have our backs. I too don't get over time nor sick time. I don't think it's fair, but it's the career that I chose.

CSI Junkie

Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 1:58 a.m.

So for a few years now I have read from papers all over these great states of ours and the mantra seems like it's always blame the public sector workers. I am not one but I am a taxpayer. I am tired of my tax dollars going to things that seem like paybacks for supporting our elected officials but cutting the basic services that provide safety and security for my family. Police, Fire, Prison Guards, Border Patrol, and yes Our Soldiers our the best example of selflessness. They do a job for All of us! We have actors, sports figures, even 15 min. famers making millions yet there are many out there that begrudge our best a decent living. I realize these people bring in money don't get me wrong. What I have a problem with is these are necessary jobs for the greater good or all. I hope one day soon we will reward these fine people for the jobs they are doing because that is what I pay my taxes for! Thank you AAFD and I wish you all well.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

when those actors come to our state they get subsidized by 46%


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 1:35 a.m.

I'm with Cash and the Ghost on this one. If PA 312 is so one sided for the unions, why does the city continue to file? That makes little sense. It's just a talking point by local politicos to cover for poor management. Common sense will tell you that if you lay off, overtime will go up. And to suggest that the employees are causing the overtime. Maybe its poor overtime budgeting that's the problem. I think its planned poor overtime budgeting then scare the citizens with this closure while blaming the employees. Very transparent. Darned fire firefighters, getting sick and injured casuing overtime. Unbelievable. When will it end? When the next budget is adopted as usual.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 12:25 a.m.

Forgive my ignorance, but could someone explain why these cuts (which are avoidable) are not being spread across the many fire stations across the city? For example, if there are 6 stations, why not close each 4 hours spread across each week?

Basic Bob

Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 12:12 a.m.

I love when Ann Arbor people blame the Republicans and tea party conservatives for city government problems, when the city has been run by Democrats since time immemorial.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 3:59 a.m.

I don't know Frasier's affiliation, but I do know the affiliation of those that hired and retain him.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 12:34 a.m.

You know Roger Fraser's party affiliation? That's where the power lies.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:19 p.m.

With the ultra-conservatives in power in Michigan get ready for more of this.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 4:28 a.m.

I am looking forward to way more of this, it is long overdue !


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 11:57 p.m.

So true. Because it was sooo much better with Jenny in control. We had no issues like this when she was governor.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 8:05 p.m.

Tim Darton wrote: &quot;That's just it cash. Because of State Act 312, hard as they try cities can't make headway on fire service contracts, the city's have no choice but to accept the binding arbitration rulings from biased arbitrators working in a system that is heavily weighted toward the unions. Don't side with them and you are not selected to be an arbitrator... Simple.&quot; I'm curious. When, exactly, was the last time that the city of A2 (or for that matter, any governmental entity in Washtenaw County) entered into binding arbitration under PA 312? How, exactly, is that system weighted toward the unions? Can't answer the questions? Not surprised. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 7:50 p.m.

Take into account the source: a Republikan wannabe who has to parrot the tea party talking points or he doesn't have a chance in any Republikan primary. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 11:42 p.m.

It's fine ERMG....we knew the aim! :-)

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 8:06 p.m.

My above comment is mis-placed--should have been under Chase Ingersoll's comment. feel free to remove. Good Night and Good Luck

Dog Guy

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

Our now highly-paid mayor and council cannot be bothered with such mudane matters as fire protection and snow removal. Their lofty minds are far above running a city; they have a legacy to build and rich friends to make.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 5:51 p.m.

The new City Hall &amp; it's $850,000.00+ guardian outside can't protect your home or you. In fact, I'd suggest that 'it's' purpose is to feed off of you. However... When looking for mucho $$$$$ that a city, your city, any city, Twp. you don't look at the budget. You look at the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report or CAFR. But you see, since these plentiful assets $$$ are NOT &quot;budget items they don't get reported as such and that's with full knowledge of those wonderful dedicated men &amp; women at the head of our major news outlets both national and local. If this sounds implausible to you, please, do the research and get copies of the CAFR(s). I'd also suggest to go along with the links below to CAFR Info from Walter Burien that you read Bob Chapman's International Forecaster. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 5:12 p.m.

We just had 2 deaths from a fire near my house, and now you are going to close the station???????????????????????


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 5:09 p.m.

Just sent this to the mayor and city council: How come we do not pressure U of M to pay for its fair share of fire production? As far as I can tell the university owns about 40% of the land in the city. There is supposed to be a subsidy from the state to help provide the U fire service. This subsidy appears to have been underpaid or not paid at all in recent years. I spoke to a well respected constitutional scholar about this exact issue. His take was that the citizens of Ann Arbor could/should not be taxed in order to provide a service to a state entity; that is that the funding should come from the citizens of the entire state, not just a local population. He then said the city would have a couple options; Ask the U to pay their share, and if they do not, then the city could stop providing fire service to them. This is a very tough option, but I think the city may have to take this action. The U would then have a couple options; move as much of their operations as possible out of town and to a place that would subsidize their fire protection needs, pay and be covered, or not pay, keep operations in the city and hope no fires start, they could also invest in their own fire department (if this option were to happen, I would believe a U fd could work with the aafd, and in effect provide the same coverage we have now with the U finally subsidizing their share of costs) I am a law student, I live in the city, own my own home, and I believe I know the facts. My house is located near the station that will experience temporary shutdowns. I am not pleased by this. I pay taxes for a fire department and now I am not protected by it. The response time to drive from the scio fd on zeeb, (for my particular location) is now closer then that of the nearest fd in Ann Arbor. Please inform me why we have not taken a harder look at this option.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

Hot dice: Its been on a few articles on and other places. I do not feel like taking the time to post links on here, you can find them yourself. If I make a presentation to the council, I will site sources. Without anything concrete on the numbers here is an exert of a email from the mayor: Years ago the State set up a fund to reimburse all the cities in which there are state facilities be they State Police posts, Sec. of State offices, universities, etc. They developed a formula based on the square footage of the buildings with some (but not enough) weighting on the complexity of providing fire services the various structures. The formula is outdated and never addressed the full cost to begin with but then as time went on the state legislature stopped fully funding the formula

Hot Dice

Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 5:28 a.m.

&quot;This subsidy appears to have been underpaid or not paid at all in recent years.&quot; Can you be more specific? Is there data that supports this statement?

Tim Darton

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:50 p.m.

That's the beauty of Act 312, the arbitrators don't take the ability of a city to pay into account. Cash, check again, every member of the police and fire departments except the chiefs are in the union. The people who played the retirement system to the hilt were all firefighters. The accounting rules aren't the city's, they come from the state.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 7:11 p.m.

Show's how little Tim know about the retirement system or the history of that system. Berlin ring a bell? Yet another city manager the council sat back and let run the city into the ground. Council is the problem. You think it was only firefighters? That's because the city used the FD as the scapegoats to shift attention from those in city hall you designed and benefited from the system. You really think the FD makes the rules of the pension system? Then you truly are ignorant.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

You are not correct. I personally know one of these people. They were non-union and paid the last years of their salary not to work to buy them into retirement.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:44 p.m.

We need to go get our money from the U of M for the fire department. They do not get to free ride of the backs of ann arbor taxpayers for fire service. As a state entity the entire state should be paying for U of M fire service in a check to Ann Arbor. As of the past few years these payments have gone done or not happened. This is ridiculous. If we were to force U of M to pay the percentage of land as to the fire department budget, we would not have a budget deficit. We (the citizens of Ann Arbor) have the power to not provide the U of M with fire service if they dont pay. They would have the option of moving there operations to a place that will provide free fire service, pay their share, or go without having the benefit of fire service. This is a joke. I cannot believe this.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

Deb and Ed. The state is supposed to reimburse cities for fire protection of state facilities within their boundaries. That would be in addition to state revenue sharing. You seem to forget that the vast number of students at UM are from Michigan, they and their parents pay state taxes and some of that comes to A2. Also, UM people use A2 business, so there is plenty of money going to the city from UM and to ask for more for a service they are supposed to provide. Deb your unconstitutional claims make no sense: &quot;it is unconstitutional for a group of the population to pay for a service that benefits all. That would be the ann arbor taxpayers, paying to provide the u service.&quot; Huh? That first sentence makes no sense at all. Do you have some case law or a part of the constitution that proves this? Also many services Ann Arbor residents pay the city for is not done on campus by the city. Trash collection, sidewalk and street plowing (of city streets) is done by UM employees, ditto police service. The U takes care of itself and does not use city services.

Dominick Lanza

Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 4:31 a.m.

yes the city gets money from the state less than one million a year and the school makes up 40% of the city thats sure isnt reflective of what it costs the rest of us to provide a fire department for the U


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 1:20 a.m.

Actually not wrongo. The city state funding has dropped, and it is unconstitutional for a group of the population to pay for a service that benefits all. That would be the ann arbor taxpayers, paying to provide the u service. The state may have passed a bill that says local municipalities must provide the state owned entities fire service, but that dosen't mean the bill is constitutional. Also fire department service is not based on the amount of calls, but them being there when you need them. I dont care if the U only called once this year, I never call the fd, but I still need their service.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:41 p.m.

Wrongo! The city is reimbursed by the state for the FD. If the funding has dropped that is a city/state issue. That is how the state covers local fire response to universities. Also, by personal experience, I know the UM has cut back in requests for AAFD response because they have UMPD officers responding. The practice used to be that every time a fire alarm went off, the AAFD was called. After several years of 99.99% of no smoke no fire, it was determined it was unnecessary to call AAFD for every fire alarm. Also, during times when buildings are occupied, if a fire occurs or if there is smoke there instantly are hundreds of phone calls. Then there are the kids in the dorms who pull fire alarms a lot to be pests. Again, if there is a fire, lots of calls are made, but it makes little sense to call the FD and roll all those trucks for every fire alarm. This may seem risky, but for decades as far as I know, no bad every happened. Coupled with fire suppression systems required in all buildings there is little risk. You can drown if you are under one of those sprinklers when it goes off, and usually there is more water damage than fire damage. This may be dated but I doubt it: When an HVA ambulance was needed for an ankle sprain or non emergency illness on campus, UMPD would call HVA and ask for an ambulance. HVA would call AAFD for the Fire Rescue truck which would make an unnecessary run.

Dominick Lanza

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

So true the U gets a free ride on many City services make them pay their share


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:40 p.m.

Tim, A city can win in arbitration if they can prove their financial case. Can Ann Arbor prove they do not have funds? Ha! Invite the arbitrators to their new fancy fountain and city hall them the huge golden parachutes paid to city higher ups over the past 5 send them flying into their joyous gold plated retirements. No one complained about that! None of the top cops etc were in unions! No, see, when you deal with arbitrators you cannot play the shell game. The shells are all removed and the arbitrator can play &quot;show me the money&quot;...and they can't play games.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:40 p.m.

@Tom Whitaker - In response to Tim Dalton; Sounds like we need to start a &quot;1% for basic services&quot; campaign. I wish some lawyer with a little time on their hands would go after the city.

Tom Whitaker

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

Meanwhile, City Council is giving away discounted fees to developers who are behind on their property taxes, funding a parking garage on parkland for UM, building a new police and courts building and a new underground parking structure. Coming soon, your tax money will be used to operate a money-losing conference center and cover potential losses for a hotel. Thank you Mayor and Council for your responsible management of the City's finances.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:28 p.m.

Is the city paying for the parking structure on Fuller Rd? Or just giving up the land? Is it more land than the area where the parking lot is now, or bigger? If it's the land where the lot is, how is that a park? I think we are talking about the area south of Fuller Rd near E Med Ctr Dr., right? Next to the RR tracks. I have been here for 35 years and I remember some guys used to hit golf balls there but in re to it being a park? I like the bike lane along the road. I would not call it a park, though it is designated as such. More of a lawn. I agree the UM should be paying for it, not the city unless its tied to this high speed train thing. If so they both need to pay.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.

Exactly. Choices. And the services people want to be first..... come last.

Tim Darton

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:34 p.m.

That's just it cash. Because of State Act 312, hard as they try cities can't make headway on fire service contracts, the city's have no choice but to accept the binding arbitration rulings from biased arbitrators working in a system that is heavily weighted toward the unions. Don't side with them and you are not selected to be an arbitrator... Simple.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

Tim, &quot;The basic problem here is the exceptional benefits enjoyed by members of the FF's union including the right to take almost as many days off as they want without paying any attention to staffing needs. The cost of their benefits just keeps going up and up way beyond inflation. Members of congress don't have benefits as good. &quot; If the administrators signed such a bad contract, as you assert above....they should all be fired. And yet.....some people tend to hold them harmless. After all, they just administer......................... Let's blame the workers for signing the other side of the contract. Let's blame the workers for not planning/managing the fire department.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

@Cash: &quot;In short, is the city administration playing the taxpayers like a fine-tuned instrument to get what they want without taking the blame for it?&quot; I tend to agree with you, although in a more general sense. I think whenever a millage gets turned down, our city government and/or school board feels that they are off the hook for spending what they have wisely. In fact, sometimes it seems as though they try to inflict the maximum punishment on those who turned down their tax, rather than spending what they have left wisely. This is giving them the benefit of the doubt - at least they are smart enough to be conniving . The other option is that they are complete fools.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

Bwahhaaa...Pick one and you'll be spot on!

Tim Darton

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:12 p.m.

Actually fund categories like the &quot;streets fund&quot; were originally approved by voters years ago, much of the money for road maintenance, including building bike lanes come from the state in the form of gas taxes. It would be illegal for the city to spend a penny of this on fire fighters. The &quot;art&quot; fund money comes mostly from utility payments, 1% up to $250,000 per project, it takes a long time to build up. Again it would be illegal to spend this money on FF's. This isn't a city statute, its a state requirement that the money collected for one purpose not be spent outside of that purpose. The basic problem here is the exceptional benefits enjoyed by members of the FF's union including the right to take almost as many days off as they want without paying any attention to staffing needs. The cost of their benefits just keeps going up and up way beyond inflation. Members of congress don't have benefits as good. By the way, the greenbelt won by a huge margin, people in A2 have repeatedly favored parks over Fire Fighters who are seen as constantly taking advantage of the system for their own benefit.

Tom Whitaker

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:34 p.m.

&quot;The &quot;art&quot; fund money comes mostly from utility payments, 1% up to $250,000 per project...&quot; Wrong. It is 1% from capital projects of all kinds. &quot; takes a long time to build up...&quot; Wrong again. The City accumulated over $2 million in the art fund very, very quickly due to all the enormous capital projects they've been funding recently. &quot;Again it would be illegal to spend this money on FF's. This isn't a city statute, its a state requirement that the money collected for one purpose not be spent outside of that purpose. &quot; Then why is it supposedly legal to spend it on art? Oh that's right, we won't know until taxpayers initiate a lawsuit (like they won in Seattle) because the City Attorney keeps his opinions secret, despite the City Charter's requirement that he file them with the clerk.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:56 p.m.

@Tim; The money doesn't come from this fund or that fund. It comes from taxpayers. At some point, the city felt the need to sell this incremental tax and that incremental tax by sticking them in these &quot;buckets&quot;, or as our federal government likes to call them &quot;trust funds&quot; (see FICA). So the got the taxes passed at the margin and people wake up and realize they are paying for them in total. Perhaps next time we want to pass a millage to buy development rights for some piece of land we will never see, it should be worded as follows: &quot;Do you prefer to to spend this extra tax on keeping a fire station open in Ann Arbor or on buying development rights to some chunk of property 10 miles outside of town on the end of a dirt road.&quot; Or perhaps, &quot;Do you prefer to spend this extra tax on a piece of &quot;art&quot; made in a foreign country, or to keep a fire station open.&quot; Just like when you go to the grocery store, you have a budget to spend and you can spend it on National Enquirers and Candy or spend it on meat and potatoes. Our city government chooses to spend it on National Enquirers (or at least ask us for money &quot;dedicated to the purchase of National Enquirers.&quot; To put in in perspective, this seems to be a $350K problem and the greenbelt has spent over $5 million this year on farmland.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:19 p.m.

I agree with you but the voters did pass these measures. I was shocked when the greenbelt thing passed, but if that is what the majority of voters want that, then so be it. Maybe they should put a police/fire tax proposal on the ballot and let the voters decide how much to put in that protected pot.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

It is disappointing that the powers that be are willing to sacrifice public services such as police &amp; fire. My guess is that none of these individuals have ever suffered a life altering event where police or fire would be needed. I understand budget cuts, but why put the safety of our citizens in jeopardy? Surely human life is more valuable than money. At the same time, it puts those working in public safety at a higher risk having to work short handed. The men and women of public safety have entered that field to protect and serve, they are selfess and courageous. Referring to a previous post, I am thankful that I don't live in Ann Arbor!

Dominick Lanza

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

Lets look at the facts here, first where does anyone think the dollars to run the fire departmentcomes from? Taxes who decides how to spend our taxes? Blame the City Council not Roger Fraser, not the Fire Chief. Fraser advises and administers Chief Lanza manges and operates the Fire department. The City Council decides the priorities and there selection is based on their personal favorites not true priorities. The Fire Department has become the budget whipping boys, at the last Council meeting Rapondalo stated the firefighters were not the only employees to give back to the city. False the firefighters were and still are the only unionized employees who took pay cuts of 3% and not for 6 months as he stated the six months was the time the city didnt lay off firefighters.

Dominick Lanza

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 6:08 p.m.

I was cut off before. It doesnt matter what fire station closes responses will be longer, damage will be greater and possible chance of loss of life will increase. The Chief did not say the firefightwers are calling in sick on purpose to make overtime thats crazy. He said the occiurances of illness are higher than normal this year in Washtenaw County three types of flu have been identified these folks go out and deal with these sick people of course some will become ill. A volunteer or paid on call fire department is not the answer you never know from one call to the next how many people will show up. The taxpayers need to wake up the life they save may be there own


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

Reading here daily, it seems that the City administration wants more revenue through an income tax, but they don't want to take blame for their overspending. They have spent millions on non-safety service related items, and some downright frivolous things. Now they want more revenue. Is the fire chief following orders to close the station to scare people into an income tax? By cutting public safety instead of frivolous junk, the administration scared people. Is that the goal? By pushing staff to work in tough conditions extra hours, etc. staff is fed up...but some people jump to blame unions (the mantra right now) instead of the administration staff cuts. Is that the goal ? In short, is the city administration playing the taxpayers like a fine-tuned instrument to get what they want without taking the blame for it? It wouldn't be the first time. Be prepared for a whole series of tactics aimed at bringing taxpayers to their knees and blames the workers for it.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:16 p.m.

That is right Cash. They take away the most visible and most important. Nobody would complain about cuts in the frivolous only cuts in services they really need.

Stephen Landes

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:21 p.m.

This is what bureaucracy does -- punish the tax slaves for not supporting the self-centered administration. Like all government they want more money for THEIR priorities and until we give it to them they will punish us. This is just the way of any entrenched bureaucracy and it is up to the rest of us to bring then to their senses. Start by voting out all the incumbents. Then new people can begin clearing out those bureaucrats who either can't or won't listen to the people they are supposed to serve.

Tim Darton

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:29 p.m.

As usual posters like alan and sally are putting up comments about spending on art or bike lanes even though by now they must know they are false. The art money comes from capital projects like water mains. Bike lane funding comes from roads and streets money. If the city spent this money, collected for a special purpose on the fire fighters the city would be committing fraud and would be subject to prosecution by the state attorney general, the city's excellent bond rating would fall and in administrators could be subject to criminal charges. Or the new &quot;city hall.&quot; Guess what, its a police station the cops have needed for 30 years and a court house the city had to build because the county is moving their juvenile courts into the space the city courts used to occupy. The city had no choice. Or take the parking structure, it is paid for with tax increment funding by the DDA, it would be a violation of state law to spend that money except for infrastructure downtown. Get real, this is the result of big cuts to the cities by the state. Fire stations are closing all over Michigan. Add to that the A2 firefighters union is doing their very best to hang on to their cushy benefits, including &quot;blue flu&quot; and you have the reasons.

Dominick Lanza

Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 4:26 a.m.

thats why I lost my pickup truck in all the potholes on 4th ave they spent the money on bike lanes


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:13 p.m.

I think a city that has an &quot;art fund&quot; should have to use that money for essential services before hiring a world famous international artist to waste the money on. Ditto with &quot;Greenbelt&quot; money. Some change in the city charter or a state law could accomplish that to avoid the &quot;fraud&quot; of running a city properly. You are correct the police needed new facilities - it was an embarrassment with what they had to put up with for so long. But that monster is way more than a police department. Many times when a facility is critically needed, everybody jumps on the wagon to expand the space. The court is going in there too and new city offices. There should have been a police station at another location and with the police out, the city can take the space. The court was doing fine in the county building.

Stephen Landes

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:25 p.m.

Wrong! The source of all city money is taxes and we have decided which accounts get the money. We can change the accounting methods and fund structure. It may not be easy, but it is apparent that having so many places to stash funds isn't really helping us -- we're spending money for things we don't need because it is tied up in some ARTIFICIAL fund! Wake up!


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.

Thank you Tim, very well stated.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

That's an old shell game we are all familiar with....pool all of our tax money, divide it into piles and move the shells....its' still our money. Anyone working in NFP accounting knows the shell game. And most taxpayers have figured it out as well.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:28 p.m.

&quot;A higher-than-average number of firefighters have been taking unexpected long-term leaves for family and medical reasons, he said. Firefighters have also been calling in sick this year at high numbers with illnesses like the flu, he said&quot;. I can take a family leave with my company, but I don't get paid for it. I also don't get a single sick day and I've been with my company for over 12 years. It is time to do &quot;paid on call&quot; because 90% of the time these guys do nothing but sit around , play games , eat pizza and get fat on the taxpayers dime.

Dominick Lanza

Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 4:25 a.m.

You need to revisit the facts these guys do nothing??? They do a lot and by the way does your job require that everyday you go to work you might get killed?? I think not


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 12:16 a.m.

How do you get &quot;paid on call&quot; when your job consists of being there in the chance that something could happen? Do you suggest they should be sitting at home, un-paid, with a beeper?


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:11 p.m.

I hate to keep bringing it up, but... This is what happens when the only idea our politicians have is to cut taxes. It's time to stop the relentless tax-cutting madness. When we're forced to cut back on public safety, and when our infrastructure degrades to the point where stuff starts blowing up (e.g., the recent gas explosions in Pennsylvania and Ohio), it should become clear to any sane person that cutting taxes is not doing us any good. We need to raise more revenue so we can restore essential services and repair our aging infrastructure before it's too late. Higher taxes are never popular, but the alternative is chaos and a diminished quality of life.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 9:49 p.m.

&quot;This is what happens when the only idea our politicians have is to cut taxes.&quot; When have Ann Arbor politicians cut taxes? I don't remember getting a break.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 12:11 a.m.

@Mick52 : I would say its well within understanding that a homeowner should expect to have lower property taxes if the value of their house goes down. After all, that is what they are based on in the first place. You wouldn't purchase a home at its pre-crash price just because we are in a transitionary recession period. You can only judge the worth of it at the present moment. Our city should live within its means. Cutting budgets for Police and Fire departments is not something that should be played with. While many disagree to the overall function of government, I think its safe to say that providing security and safety is at its basic core. I, for one, am not comforted by there being cuts to these departments, especially when they happen to be around the corner. Eeks.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

You remind me of an issue occurring I think should be ended. With the lowering of home values, people can get their property taxes lowered. That results in lower revenue and budget shortfalls. We are in a recession that is expected to recover. If a person is employed making the same pay, why should his property taxes be lowered due to a recession? Maybe this is not happening in A2. If not is the deficit from loss of revenue or overspending? If your property tax is lowered, don't complain about cuts in service. I would agree that property tax cuts should be altered for people who get laid off perhaps. Also I have felt for 35 years now that homes in A2 has always been way overpriced. I would never buy a house in A2 when I could do much better with the same $$ in Saline, Chelsea, Dexter, etc.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:33 p.m.

I soooooooo disagree with you. There is a spending problem, not a revenue problem.

Stephen Landes

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:16 p.m.

We may come to a time when higher taxes are needed, but this is not the time. What we have in Ann Arbor and many other places is a spending problem -- buying things that we cannot afford while we let the things that are our responsibility slide. Many things are nice to have, but few are truly the responsibility of government to provide. What we need is a city council that understands how to separate &quot;required&quot; from &quot;nice to have&quot;: we don't have that today.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:51 p.m.

@Alfie: Do you even live in this city? Tell me the date and time you've EVER seen 3 fire trucks on a medical call. The FD sends ONE truck to a medical and then the ambulance eventually shows up. Again, tell all of us the date and time you witnessed this and I'll personally look up that call. Now... townships (paid on call departments) generally send multiple trucks because they're only staffed with one person to a truck.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 9:59 p.m.

I have always thought the response was based on the type and size of the destination, or the description of the problem. True?


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 7:15 p.m.

So you sit and watch this occur on a weekly basis, but can't name one time you saw it? Interesting. The BC responds to structure fires, along with an engine and tower. We have examined our practices and made adjustments every year. To the point where there's nothing to cut except to stop sending trucks on the road (closing station 3). When you wish to talk facts, I'll engage you further. Right now, you're doing nothing than putting out your opinion backed by nothing more than made up information. Pick a &quot;weekly occurance&quot; and we'll talk more.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:55 p.m.

Yes, I do live in the City, how this is relevant to the facts I am not sure. Nope, no exact dates and times, no big surprise there, I dont walk around with my notepad tracking the details. You got me there . I volunteer at Courtyhouse square and a number of other places downtown that have high numbers of calls. I witness these responses weekly. I think almost anybody else who works downtown has noticed this response as well. The two rigs and the Battalion Chief truck on every call. Is that really required? All I am saying is that Fire should be willing to examine their practices like every other job, private or public, has done during these rough times. Are you all willing to do that or just keep scaring the public?


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:49 p.m.

2nd: The city decided to layoff 5 people. City council stated that their top priority was to staff 5 stations. Well, follow me here because this is tricky math, if you take away 5 people from an already understaffed department, other people have to fill in. That creates overtime. Period. 3rd: @CHASE... your comments regarding how the union defended the member that was driving w/o a license. Where did you get that info from? Let me clear that up for you. The union DID NOT defend him. It never ever had a chance to get reviewed by the union. The chief made the decision to circumvent everyone and make the decision on his own. But thank you for your comments. Look folks, if you don't care enough about your safety to speak up to city council, then there's only so much we can do for you.

Dominick Lanza

Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 4:24 a.m.

well said we the people need to get involved in this and not here posting going to city hall calling council people speaking at council meetings


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.

Thanks for info you have posted BornNRaised. I suspect you are a FF due to your comments. Back when Station 2 was closed, I was amazed. It sits in the middle of a huge residential area. During my training in another PS area we were always told the first seven minutes of a fire were the most important, thus the need for a speedy response. I like to look at municipal services as essential and non essential with Police/Fire, utilities and roadways up their in the essentials. A2 always seems to jumble things around. I think they have low income housing at the top. I have always wondered how much the Housing area costs, whether it is self funded from rents and grants or if its a drain on the budget. A city police officer I know told me the fiasco related to the old YMCA, including rehousing the residents in hotels after the condemnation of the building, cost in the millions, 2 or 3, I can't recall. The bottom line though is that if the voters keep re-electing candidates who do this type of stuff, they are in agreement to whatever is done. And I suppose it will end up as a city income tax, which is incredibly unfair to people who don't live here. I think police and fire staffing should be based on minimum staffing requirements set by state law. Too often, local govts have entered into silly policy that becomes a huge mess.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:30 p.m.

Snoopdog. Then you have no idea of the past history. When Station 2 was closed, we tried to hand out notices to people since the city tried to keep it quiet. People slammed doors in our faces. Then, when calls come into that former area, we are always attacked with, &quot;What took you so long? You're just around the corner!&quot; No... we haven't been there for years. And when we tried to give you a heads up, you didn't want to hear it. And what would you have us do when the station closes and someone has a heart attack or fire in that area and instead of a small 'pot on the stove' fire, it becomes a total loss? Again, we can arm you with info. If you choose to ignore it, there's not much more we can do. Take that how you like. Obviously you took it 100% to the negative instead of its intended meaning. But, your choice.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:48 p.m.

I often enjoy logging on to see the comments by all the self-appointed experts who like to post here. So... let's clear a few things up for those choose to make up their own facts instead of researching the reality of what they're saying: 1st: @BRAD: Your comments about the 'blue flu'... Every month the county provides a epidemiology report (look it up). That report shows the increase or decrease in reported flu cases in the county. The rate has literally sky rocketed. Because YOU may not have had the flu, does your household represent the entire city? When someone has the flu and is throwing up, running a fever, and all the other wonderful things that accompany the flu and call 911... who do you think is the first to show up to stabilize them? Yeah, the FD. Now, multiply that by the couple hundred 911 calls the FD responds to a month.


Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 12:35 a.m.

@BornNRaised : Thank you for your insights on the article. I agree whole-heartily.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

Just to clairfy. You call one fire truck an 'entire brigade'. Don't go over stating the facts to attempt to prove your point or anything. No one would ever catch it I'm sure. I'm sure you're the same type of person that expects instant service from an army of people when you call 911, but push for cuts at the same time. Your attitude is typical.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

@BornNRiased, I understand about the self-appointed experts, intersting you think so too. Thank you for making my point, the Fire Department should NOT be responding to people that have a fever, throwing up, etc. That is exactly the problem, we are paying overtime for firefighters to help someone with a fever or the flu! Yes, in rare cases the flu is life-threatening, but again the EMS is able to assist, you do not need the entire brigade.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

Am I the only thinking WHY are all these firefighters hit with a bizarre wave of illnesses (that require time off) that seem to be missing everyone else in the city? Long term medical leaves? PAID medical leaves..... Also Remember the question of why they need to bring 3 fire trucks AND the ladder truck to a report of a person having trouble breathing? overtime? If they are so short-staffed then why bring that much equipment still? They know the nature of the call before they even leave the station. My point is, lets not be afraid to examine the tactics here. Some of them may be taking advantage of the system without stopping to think what the long term effect is for the city and their own department. The public is so afraid to question anything about the way they do business and so unwilling to question anything about fire services because of the 'fear' spread by some.

Dominick Lanza

Sun, Feb 13, 2011 : 4:22 a.m.

Everyone else in the city isnt out taking care of sick people and only one fire truck goes on a medical call get your facts straight


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:42 p.m.

Skotsky - That is the POST OF THE YEAR! Perhaps can do some homework and provide what the city doles out in council salaries and all the commissions with members that get a stipend for just showing up. Perhaps that is the first place to start. Lets stop the political graft before heading straight to the &quot;emotional&quot; cuts. Good grief how many meetings having been held on pot shops alone?????????


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:29 p.m.

There is no blue flu. They laid off a bunch of people off. Less people to work a normal shift. Someone has to cover for those people(overtime) being gone or else you shut fire stations down. Then you add a couple injuries( which is very common in this buisness) and a few sicknesses and you can kiss your overtime budget goodbye. Bring back the people that were laid off and then you will have more people to work at normal pay. They can't pay to keep the west side of the city protected but they CAN pay for $50,000 studies and $400,000 roundabouts and $200,000 GPS systems for plow trucks. Don't buy into this. Fraser is playing games with your safety. It takes a lot of guts to shut a fire station down a week after 2 people died in that stations area.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

Unfortunately the dilemma has now and will effect many people within the city due to poor management of your elected City officials along with the unions that are taking advantage and abusing the benefits assured them so they can show their solidarity rather than striking, the unions over time have been able to negotiate within their contracts privileges and benefits that are unreasonable and unwarranted and yet we continue (City Officials) to bend over. It's unfortunate many hard working firefighters have been given pink slips while some have stayed that are less than model employees as an example like the firefighter suspended for driving fire engine without a license along with a number of other improprieties when in reality he should have been given a boot and yet they union will fight that he continue his employment without hesitation. The OT is a typical ploy of many unions throughout the US, I call in sick Friday and I need replacement, you call in sick on Monday and I need a replacement in both cases the replacement is on OT, in some clauses you as a Supervisor can not question nor reprimand an employee regarding his attendance or lack of, if anyone bothered to look at work schedules they could easily decipher what's really happening, by continuing to allow the unions to dictate and make amends that suit their needs to a point of no return you've created a lifestyle and culture. Like Obama said we need a change, (yeah right) unfortunately this isn't the change we needed. Good Luck.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:40 p.m.

This posting hits the nail right on the head. Anyone who is in a union or on the government dole learns how to play the system to their advantage. This article doesn't even begin to cover the banked time off that they cash in when the retire, or the buy down option for an early retirement. I'm sure there's other goodies in the contract too. We're running out of money folks and we can't afford to pay for all of the stupids things that have been &quot;bargained&quot; into these contracts. Now that many of us are not working we're starting to pay attention, hopefully not too late.....

Chase Ingersoll

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 1:52 p.m.

It's interesting to read that big strong firefighters get paid sick days. Do the tax payers in small businesses get sick days? Do tax payers receive a &quot;tax off&quot; day where their property taxes are forgiven on the days they can't work? Many of these tax payers are the guys with a truck who despite some flu symptoms were out in the sub freezing weather just glad to have work this time of year so that they can try and make their winter property tax payment. I think we all just need to check the batteries in our smoke detectors, make sure to have GFI breakers, clean out the dryer vent and buy another Kiddie the next time they go on sale. That is market based safety that we can afford. The Socialist Safety net is bankrupting every level of government. Also, why can't fire suppression services be put out for private contract?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 7:51 p.m.

Take into account the source: a Republikan wannabe who has to parrot the tea party talking points or he doesn't have a chance in any Republikan primary. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 4:51 p.m.

Patty, yes, let's all run out with a bucket of water and throw it on the next fire. Socialist safety net? Oy!


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 2:25 p.m.

You are kidding, right? I mean, this post is a joke, right? You're annoyed that &quot;big, strong&quot; firefighters get sick days. HAHAHAHAHA! You think that workers in small businesses shouldn't have sick days? Wow. It's so ironic. When radical right-wingers go on and on about small government and are asked, &quot;Well, fine--if you want small government, are you prepared to give up your police and fire protection?&quot; the answer is always, &quot;Well, uh, um...uh, well, harrrumph.&quot; But here it's actually happening, and this sad sack actually thinks it's a good thing. Unbelievable. As private contract fire protection--the radical right's answer to everything.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

As to the current problem it will be like closing the barn door after the horse has gone. But should AA look at a volunteer group to back up and assist its professional department? Increased costs and overtime will not disappear in the foreseeable future. A volunteer &quot;department&quot; on the west side could be a shared group with Scio Township, benefitting residents in that area without regard to artificial municipal boundary lines. [Since Washtenaw County is blessed with the intellectual ability to conduct such an investigation, any &quot;study&quot; of this concept should also be unpaid and volunteer. A $500K study of how to potentially save $100K would be ludicrous.]


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 1:30 p.m.

There sure seems to be a lot of unexpected/unanticipated problems, plus a rash of flu which doesn't seem to be affecting the general population. I think @pete has it right -- it's a leadership problem. And anyone thinking that extended response times aren't an issue need only look back at the two fatal fires we've had in the last month. One of them occurred near the already-shuttered #2 station.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 3:58 p.m.

I have to disagree that it doesn't seem to be affecting the general population. I have seen it working as a substitute teacher. A lot of teachers have been coming down with the flu. A lot of children have been coming down with it as well. My mother works in a Dr.'s office and says they have had a lot of sick children coming in steadily since December.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

Reading this makes me glad I live in Pittsfield Township and not in Ann Arbor.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 1:27 p.m.

&quot;I simply want to reduce it (government) to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.&quot;- Grover Norquist workers are overpaid, right? Why are people upset that some will take days off? Because the City built safer roads? The people on the council that voted for &quot;the arts&quot; were up for reelection, many won. That is a representative democracy. Why didn't the upset people go out into the streets and campaign against the spenders and run them out of office? Surely John &quot;Mubarek&quot; Hefjte is susceptible to a Facebook revolution. Anybody that complains about overpaid govt workers should be ecstatic today! Time to wander into the bathroom and take a gander in the reflective surface above the sink.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

Maybe it's time to eliminate a council person to save some money. Cutting vital services to the citizens is to save money is reckless. But there is a new city hall, library parking structure, pedestrian cross islands, (Stadium Blvd.) and bike lanes. Thinking about the recent fire on the west side. Three firefighter's respond, one's the truck engineer, leaves only two firefighters till other units respond. Remember the fire on State Street last year that killed a student. The old station 3 on Packard would have been able to respond faster than the downtown station lumbering through downtown city streets. There's a large student population if something happened at one the dorms I hope the departments prepared. Isn't one of the reasons to have a fire department to prepare for the worst and hope for the best? I think the people of Ann Arbor deserve a lot better.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 9:36 p.m.

Yes I agree, best idea so far.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 1:42 p.m.

Skotsky - That is the POST OF THE YEAR! Perhaps can od some homework and provide what the city doles out in council salaries and all the commissions with members that get stipend for just showing up. Perhaps that is the first place to start. Lets stop for political graft before heading straight to the &quot;emotional&quot; cuts. Good grief how many meetings having been held on pot shops alone?????????

Pete Warburton

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 1:19 p.m.

Chief Lanza seems to be afraid to be direct . Why did'nt he just say the West Side will be unprotected part of the time because the firefighters are staging a &quot;blu flu &quot; job action . When a person in a leadership position starts to blame all problems in an organization on others and circumstances.... It is time for him to leave.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 9:35 p.m.

Do you know that Pete, or are you speculating? Have some inside info? You know, there is nothing wrong with an employee using sick time benefits. At some point in time the city decided that whatever allocation they agreed to, it is an appropriate amount. That said, I have no problem with disciplinary action if it is determined the benefit is being abused.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 12:46 p.m.

Sounds like the mayor or council needs to step in before someone gets hurt. To any council people reading this: are you seriously going to fund an &quot;arts coordinator&quot; (to name one example) while cutting safety services?.We citizes would actually appreciate a response here if any of you are up to it.

Silly Sally

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 11:56 a.m.

If I lived on the west side of Ann Arbor near Jackson and I-94, I would sure hope that the city does not close that particular fire station during the work week or a football Saturday, as the increased traffic would greatly slow down the response times. Especially since the city recently narrowed Stadium Blvd just west of Pioneer High School. Such a silly mayor he is...

Alan Goldsmith

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 11:45 a.m.

&quot;He said the city has had to make tough choices.&quot; Yeah, touch choices. Like cutting public safety, while we have money for a 500K 'roundabout' to go with the parkland giveaway for the new U of M Fuller Road parking structure, no bid 'recycling' contracts to an organization with political ties to the Mayor and pushing a million bucks for the new 'water fountain', ironically right across the street from the downtown fire station. Let's call this what it is--political payback for the opposition of the firefighters to the Mayor's last election. Thanks Mayor, who, oddly enough, isn't quoted in this story. Or Roger Frazer, who doesn't even LIVE in the city. Decisions like these have results. The entire city will be responsible if it allows this to happen.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 9:31 p.m.

If City Hall catches fire the FFs can walk across the street with buckets, fill them in the fountain and carry them to the fire.

Silly Sally

Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 11:37 a.m.

So, the city cuts vital services, yet it has just built a new city hall and even worse, spent money on round-abouts, bicycle lanes, and road lane reductions.The top of this list is the BIG DIG parking structure next to the downtown library. While many of its other services may be &quot;nice&quot; top have, they all should come after the city's main obligations and duties are met; protection. Police and fire are at the top of that list.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:23 p.m.

(Opps hit submit) But I agree with your last point; for me and my tax dollars, I want police, fire, and schools funded together as the #1 priority.


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 10:22 p.m.

I think the fire department's funds are separate from road construction. I also think they come from different sources (State of Michigan vs. Washtenaw County vs. City of Ann Arbor).


Sat, Feb 12, 2011 : 9:29 p.m.

Hey, don't be picking on bike lanes. When gas hits $4/gallon a lot of folks are going to be using them. That other stuff you can keep on about. You forgot about the million dollar fountain.