Michigan (The Gaslamp Post) – What is a city to do when their back is against the wall, they’re broke, and a building goes up in flames? If you said put the fire out, you’re sorely mistaken.
Detroit Fire Department Executive Fire Commissioner, Donald Austin, acknowledges the city’s budget woes, and offered a relatively simple solution. He proposes that if the building is vacant, just let it burn. “We are in no way looking to ‘let the city’ burn, this is about saving lives and money,” said Commissioner Austin. “My department is strapped, the budget is strapped, and it’s time to look at a new way of doing things.”
So in other words, don’t let them burn, but if the situation arises, just let them burn…
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that the commissioner who joined the force in Detroit, last May, came from cash-strapped California; Los Angeles to be exact.
Trying to stay ahead of the 15% budget cut that his department faces, after a recent deal which avoided the State of Michigan stepping in to take control of the city, Commissioner Austin has offered a few suggestions. In order to both keep his job and keep the costs down to the city, Commissioner Austin proposed the following:
- If the fire is in a vacant building and it’s over 50% ablaze and the weather conditions are favorable, just let it go. They would have to at least try to put it out, if the burning structure posed a threat to an inhabited one.
- They could tap the U.S. Navy’s “Seabees” construction unit, and have THEM level all of the abandoned and dilapidated buildings. This way Detroit wouldn’t incur any costs.
- A new unit could be created in the already budget strapped department, that could demolish newly razed buildings. This tactic is similar to one that the commissioner had used to battle wild fires in Los Angeles.
Detroit serves as a warning to the entire country, displaying what exactly can happen when spending and mismanagement runs rampant. Earlier this year, Detroit faced a state takeover, after the city government, which is heavily Democrat, ran it into the ground.
Austin said he’s trying to help the department grapple with a looming 15 percent budget cut. Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is making deep reductions to the 2012-13 budget, likely to be below this fiscal year’s $183 million. Detroit is going through a state-monitored budget overhaul under a deal reached between Gov. Rick Snyder and city officials, an alternative to a state-appointed emergency manager.
“Name another city in the United States that lost 200,000 people in 10 years,” said Austin, citing U.S. Census figures. “So we’re in a unique position. And I believe it takes unique approaches to deal with situations that are not the norm.”
This concocted plan has as expected, drawn fire from the Detroit Fire Fighters Association. According to Association President, Daniel McNamara, it isn’t a really good idea to simply let vacant buildings burn to the ground. This sort of thing requires procedure, such as being named on a demolition list. “If we could have that kind of communication, we wouldn’t have this kind of discussion right now,” said McNamara.
On a side note, it’s interesting that when Democrats run out of other people’s money, they finally get it. What’s even more interesting, is that this comes after the president’s administration has bragged that Gov’t Motors, is back and kicking butt.
Things couldn’t be better! Yeah, ok…