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Re: “NCFPD moves forward to secure Station 5 financing” [Village News, 9/5/2013]

Thursday, September 19th, 2013
Issue 38, Volume 17.
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I read with great interest that the NCFPD was unable to further lower costs for the long delayed Station # 5.

The Sept. 5 article stated the current bid cost is about $4.7 million, which was about 34 percent higher than the 2010 estimate of $3.5 million. The article claimed the cost increase was due to inflation in construction costs.

A quick review of the nationally published cost indices for San Diego for the same period of time indicated that costs have increased about 2 percent per year over the same period or a total cost increase of about 6 percent. The difference is about $980,000.

I discussed the matter with Deputy Chief Sprague and he indicated the District had reduced square footage and had made other changes to get to the $4.7 million number.

If this were a private entity dealing with their own money, they very likely would make additional substantial changes to the plans or the project would not proceed.

Chief Sprague indicated that financing was approved at a meeting last week. We need a new fire station, but not one this expensive.

I am a retired architect, structural engineer and civil engineer and have built projects, in today’s dollars, whose total cost was over $450 million on buildings ranging in size from high rises to branch banks. I know the business very well. NCFPD should be seriously prodded to reduce project costs substantially or abandon it. It’s our tax dollars; costs are important to the taxpayer.

Harry Stitle



Comment Profile ImageLee
Comment #1 | Thursday, Sep 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm
Harry, I could kiss you!

Do WE, THE PEOPLE get to vote on these new fire stations directly? Yes, or no? If not, why not? Where is the vote of WE, THE PEOPLE?! WHO approved things at the meeting that Chief Sprague speaks of? Who?! The people who are asked to flip the bill?

WHY do fire fighters need new palaces, oops, oops, I mean fire stations . . . when so far they have done just fine with the ones they have? Do these new shelters, perhaps, aid in fire fighting capabilities? If so, how? Hmm, perhaps a new station reduces the response time of fire fighters responding to a fire just like, you know, living in a palace, as we all know, reduces the chances . . . of having cancer. Riiiiight. Riiiiight. When we have a broken window in our own homes, do we immediately rush to the real estate market . . . . to buy a shiny new home, or do we simply replace the window? When our car needs an oil change, do we rush to buy a new Benz, or do we simply change the oil? So WHY do firefighters need new, shiny AND, most important of all, EXPENSIVE fire stations? And why pursue this endeavor in these difficult economic times? Surely, if fire fighters TRULY care about their community instead of just pretending to while marching in a parade down Main Street, wearin' a skirt and blowin' some bagpipes . . . and hidin' behind the red, white & blue, they will do the right thing and NOT pursue the construction of these expensive station(s) but instead look after AND TRULY CARE for their community by NOT asking, nay demanding, that the hard-working American taxpayer flip the bill for these new . . . shiny toys.

PS. And should fire fighters seek reasonable and alternate solutions for the funding of these new toys, I suggest by starting with themselves and cuttin' their MORE-THAN-GENEROUS -- ridiculous is more like it! -- salaries. We all gotta tighten our belts. And surely they love their community.

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