Sand Lake Ambulance
An integral part of my campaign for mayor focused on public safety and its importance to our community. As part of that promise, I’m pleased to announce that at tonight’s Assembly meeting I will bring forth a bond proposal that will put the Sand Lake ambulance and the associated increase in operations and maintenance costs on April’s ballot.
The ambulance issue is complex and has become a bit of a political hot potato. While no one has denied the need for the ambulance, the question of how and when to pay for it took center stage recently when I vetoed what was, in my mind, an imperfect proposal that would have funded only the equipment. Voters would have approved the cost of the ambulance itself and then been disappointed when the new rig sat in a garage with no one to staff it.
Next year, there will be another round of budget reductions in order to restore the fiscal health of the city. Early projections indicate that at least $20 million will need to be cut. With reductions of this magnitude, there will be service reductions and personnel layoffs in all municipal departments. Recognizing this, our budget planning did not include placing the new Sand Lake ambulance and its related operating costs before the voters until 2011. The question of whether or not to move the ambulance up a year under known budget constraints required a careful and deliberate analysis.
Ultimately, we decided that we could bring a responsible, sustainable proposal to voters this year. The revised bond proposal will ask the voters to approve the $250,000 to purchase the Sand Lake ambulance and estimated operating and maintenance costs of approximately $800,000 annually.
My administration’s commitment to public safety remains our top priority. In April, the voters will have the opportunity to make the final decision on this important issue.