By Efrain Nieves & Victoria Cepeda
Mayor Bloomberg’s proposed budget cuts will severely have New York City’s Fire Departments (FDNY). Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano stated “The level of cuts we are facing now — including the closure of 20 fire companies — will negatively affect response times to fires and life-threatening medical emergencies” (nbcnewyork.com).
Meanwhile Bloomberg underscored the administration’s concern at a recent City Hall news conference.
“These cuts don’t go to address more than a third of what we think the problem is,” he said. “We’re going to be going in the other direction. You can always find ways to try to mitigate the pain. The problem is you have to go where the monies are,” schools, public safety and sanitation.
The state gap may increase to between $10 billion to $12 billion in the event revenue and spending projections prove too optimistic, Page said today.
Even if the state finds $3 billion to save, $7 billion would still have to be cut from aid to municipalities, Page said. Because New York City historically has received about one- third of local aid, the loss would be about $2 billion, he said. The city’s projected 5 percent revenue increase wouldn’t be enough to make up that gap.
The president of the firefighters union Steve Cassidy stated, “after nine FDNY cuts including, seven fire companies closed and Engine Company staffing reduced (2011) by Mike Bloomberg, the last seven years have been the busiest in FDNY history. The mayor has been saying that New Yorkers must do more with less and that is just what New York City Firefighters have been doing all along.”
Here is a list of companies included in the closure from nbcnewyork.com:
E004 42 South St. Manhattan
E026 220 West 37th St. Manhattan
E046 460 Cross Bronx Expwy. Bronx
E060 341 East 143rd St. Bronx
E157 1573 Castleton Ave. Staten Island
E161 278 McClean Ave. Staten Island
E205 74 Middagh St. Brooklyn
E206 1201 Grand St. Brooklyn
E218 650 Hart St. Brooklyn
E220 530 11th St. Brooklyn
E233 25 Rockaway Ave. Brooklyn
E284 1157 79th St. Brooklyn
E294 101-20 Jamaica Ave. Queens
E306 40-18 214th Place Queens
E328 16-19 Central Ave. Queens
L008 14 North Moore St. Manhattan
L053 169 Schofield Ave. Bronx
L104 161 South 2nd St. Brooklyn
L128 33-51 Greenpoint Ave. Queens
L161 2929 W 8th St. Brooklyn
In a city with millions of residents and high rise buildings, the amount of first responders is even more crucial to saving lives. While we cannot underestimate the crucial task of Mayor Bloomberg and his staff to attempt to balance NYC’s budget, we cannot ignore how adversely these cuts will affect residents. We believe that firefighters are vital in a crowded city. Theirs is a job few are trained, either physically and mentally, to tackle.
Tough times, tough decisions and few choices. These are the times we’re living across America.