Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Station needs second look

My name is Tom White. I am a Hailey resident and an employee of Wood River Fire and Rescue. I am writing this letter as a Hailey taxpayer, not as a spokesperson for Wood River Fire.

The citizens of Hailey deserve a closer evaluation of the Woodside Fire Station bond results. There may be messages associated with the "no" votes that are being missed by the Hailey City Council, as evidenced by its recent conclusion that Hailey citizens are "satisfied with the current level of services they're getting," and "don't want" to build a fire station in Woodside (Express, 11/9/06). I believe Hailey has a lot to gain if our City Council works to correct the likely reasons behind the bond rejection.

Perhaps Hailey voters do in fact want a fire station in Woodside—just not one of the size and scope proposed. A smaller station consisting of apparatus bays might satisfy response times and insurance rating issues.

Perhaps bond financing is a concern, given the possibility of other funding options such as capital reserves, local option tax collections, grants, and joint financing with other agencies.

Perhaps Woodside is not the most appropriate location for the city's main fire station. Perhaps many voters are waiting for a "master plan" to be adopted by all local departments before they approve new capital expenditures.

We have an opportunity to address and correct voter concerns. I am hopeful that future city discussions will be open, reflective, and encompass the types of issues mentioned above.

As a final note, I want to acknowledge the Hailey Fire Department volunteers members who committed their time and energy to the bond promotion. These dedicated citizens assumed campaign responsibilities in addition to existing commitments to work, families, emergency calls, training and fire equipment maintenance. Thank you.

Tom White


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