At last night's Wylie City Council Meeting, Fire Chief Randy Corbin gave a presentation of the state of the Wylie Fire Department. It was no surprise he pointed out the necessity of two of those monstrous fire trucks called Quints.
I was in attendance this time last year when he gave relatively the same presentation and argument to City Council. It is no surprise that Wylie is in need of them, or frankly it shouldn't be because we have had one of some of the equipment since 1992 and Quints since 1996 and 1999. In fact, it should come as no surprise to anyone that we are in need to two Quints and ultimately three of them when and if we build another fire station down the road.
The question then is, why is this topic only now reaching a fevered pitch within the City? Why is the City of Wylie and its citizens stuck with the need to replace 15 and 18 year old equipment with new trucks that average $750K each? Why are we irresponsibly behind the 8-ball on this?
Wouldn't it stand to reason that if the City of Wylie knew our equipment was decaying and past its recommended lifespan that we would have taken steps years ago to prepare for and perhaps even save up for the purchase of these things? I mean, it's not like it is a big surprise that crept up on us or anything.
Now Wylie is stuck with old equipment which is an absolute requirement for saving lives and no way to pay for it. Despite what I think of Chief Corbin, personally I think he is a big sissy only once removed from pedi- and mani-cures, the Fire Department needs he pointed out are very real indeed. What has our City Manager Mindy Manson been waiting on? This is not exactly her first rodeo if you know what I mean.
Why are we finding ourselves in a position that in order to buy a Quint or two we need to do some serious cutting or worse yet tax increasing? Shouldn't that have been done years ago? If the average life for a Quint is 12 years for example, wouldn't you begin your preparations in year 10? It seems to me that in the heyday that was Wylie massive growth, we should have had the funds pouring from our fingertips in order to pay for the replacement of these trucks, at the very time such replacement was needed. Rather our City spent money like it was growing on trees and nobody bothered to think much past tomorrow or their own instant gratification.
It appears to me that if the City doesn't cut its budget, will they be coming to citizens asking for us to approve a bond in order to buy the things. Oh hells no. In my opinion, the City got us into this mess, the City needs to get us out of it and unfortunately that means they need to make some difficult and probably painful cuts in order to correct the situation we have been forced into through their mismanagement of our tax dollars all these years. Sadly, this year their solution is to give employee furloughs and cut Police and Fire salaries by 1%.
The City played the Good Time Charlie until it caught up with them thanks to a down economy. Sadly, you will never know if a budget is being mismanaged until the economy goes sour and it becomes glaringly obvious. It seems everyone wants to party but nobody wants to stay and clean up afterwards.