GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Latest Cape Ann News

November 20, 2012

Mayor, chief eye plan to open stations

Mayor Carolyn Kirk and first-year Fire Chief Eric Smith have hashed out a plan that they hope will allow the city to open its outskirts fire stations more frequently through both a reorganization and allocating of city money to the Fire Department.

Kirk, in a letter to city councilors dated Monday, laid out a funding proposal for their review and approval, suggesting the city use some of the $4.8 million in “free cash” funds, Gloucester’s surplus fiscal 2012 revenue, to fill one new position within the department, to allocate $46,000 in overtime pay for firefighters, increasing the fiscal year overtime line item to $200,000, and by creating a “rainy day” fund for the department with another $200,000 to be used in increments as the year advances.

The entire proposal comes at a time when City Councilors are pushing Kirk to create a comprehensive plan for allocating the millions of dollars in “free cash” before requesting funds. Kirk wrote, however, that this funding request was expedited to satisfy another request by city councilors: to open the stations in West Gloucester, Bay View and Magnolia more frequently and more consistently.

“It is important to note that we are trending in the right direction in terms of stations being open with greater frequency, and our goal is to ensure this happens in a sustainable manner,” Kirk wrote.

Fire Chief Smith said that while the extra funding would help keep the stations staffed, the money will not be enough to fund full-time coverage at all stations for the full fiscal year, which runs through June 30. While Central Station and West Gloucester were staffed, the nightly city emergency reported indicated that Bay View and Magnolia stations were once again closed Tuesday night. The Magnolia station has rarely been open since the fall of 2011.

“The hope’s that we’ll open stations in the outskirts more frequently, but this certainly won’t open them consistently every day. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly enough funding to do that,” Smith said. “We’re going to try to be a little more strategic and tactical with staffing up ... but to try to keep Bay View open as much as possible with the budget.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest Cape Ann News

Pictures of the Week
Your news, your way
Comments Tracker
AP Video Network
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe