FOLLOWUP: Added during West Seattle Bridge closure, SFD Ladder 13 and Medic 26 will stay here

(WSB photo: Ladder 13 at a West Seattle fire response in July)

The City Council took its final budget vote today, and money for added Seattle Fire resources in our area made the final cut. Shortly after the West Seattle Bridge closure in 2020, SFD took Ladder 13 and Medic 26 out of its reserves and stationed them – along with the personnel to staff them – in West Seattle and South Park, respectively. That doubled our area’s allocation of each of those types of units; previously, if a big call, or pverlapping calls, required more than 1 ladder truck or medic unit to respond to this area, the second one had to come from another part of the city. The council news release about today’s budget vote says the two units responded to more than 2,000 calls last year alone, The argument for keeping them beyond the reopening of the bridge was improving response times for the southernmost areas of the city – without the added medic unit based at Station 26 in South Park, medic response times could triple, and without the added ladder truck based at Station 37 in Sunrise Heights, response times to southernmost West Seattle could double.

Mayor Bruce Harrell‘s budget proposal did not include money for keeping the units here; West Seattle/South Park Councilmember Lisa Herbold pushed to add it, and got her amendment all the way through the budget review process. It allots $4.7 million in 2023 and $5.6 million in 2024 for the personnel and equipment costs. The documents say extra spending would be needed after that because Ladder 13 and Medic 26 were summoned into service “beyond their replacement age” – the medic unit will be replaced in late 2024, the truck a year later. The budget has one more step for final approval – the mayor can sign it, veto it, or let it become law without his signature. His post-vote statement suggests he’s OK with it.

11 Replies to "FOLLOWUP: Added during West Seattle Bridge closure, SFD Ladder 13 and Medic 26 will stay here"

  • Mr J November 29, 2022 (10:39 pm)

    We can pay for most of these ladder costs for 2023 if all those outstanding low bridge tickets get paid. 5.5 million outstanding. Pay up people.

    • James November 30, 2022 (5:44 am)

      Agreed. We should prioritize socialized services like the fire department. Seattle should also take a page from Chicago and enter an agreement with a private company to manage public parking. The revenue could pay for desperately needed new infrastructure and reinforce that car ownership is a privilege, not a right.

      • Ivan Weiss December 1, 2022 (10:19 am)

        “Enter an agreement with a private company to manage public parking?” That is an abominable idea, that should resisted at all costs. My friends in Chicago consider it nothing more than legalized graft, which does nothing but line the pockets of the parking authority racketeers. Little transparency, arbitrary enforcement, slack oversight. Nobody in Seattle who promotes this awful program should be permitted to hold elected office.

        • James December 1, 2022 (11:45 am)

          Chicago is not exactly known for its radical transparency. Seattle isn’t equipped to properly manage and regulate parking in the city, so let a private business do the work instead. The business can hire employees (read: jobs) and be responsible for managing its fleet. In exchange, the city receives additional B&O taxes and a revenue stream for repairing our city’s infrastructure. So long as the company complies with all local and state laws regarding parking, Seattle doesn’t have to waste time, money, and resources chasing after unpaid fines. This idea isn’t a liberal conspiracy, it’s using the free market as it was intended.

      • From Chicago December 1, 2022 (12:32 pm)

        Seattle should absolutely NOT privatize public services the way Chicago did.  I lived there when that parking privatization went down and it was a giant grift that handed over public parking meters to a private company for 75 years(!) so the dirty mayor could plug a one-time budget gap to cover up the (still ongoing) pension fund debacle.

        Parking costs skyrocketed overnight around 4x.  The city is still on the hook for maintaining the parking, but the private company gets all the revenue.  If a parking meter stops working and the city doesn’t fix it, the city has to pay the private company for their loss of revenue.  If a street is temporarily closed for sewer repair, the city pays the private parking meter company for their lost revenue.  It’s insane!

        The private company already made back its $1.16 bil purchase and another $500 mil more in only 14 years, with another 61 years of pure profit remaining on the lease.  That’s money the city of Chicago could have earned itself, and it’s estimated that Chicago has already missed out on several BILLION dollars.

        In general we should not be privatizing public services!

  • WS Res November 29, 2022 (10:48 pm)

    Hopefully, commenters who continually denigrate Herbold will recognize that she delivered for WS here.

  • westseattlebob November 29, 2022 (11:46 pm)

    Thank you council member Herbold!! For all that you do for WS and South Park

  • WSCurmudgeon November 30, 2022 (6:14 am)

    “[P]olitics ain’t beanbag.” As “Mr. Dooley,” a character created by the 19th C. author Finley Peter Dunne put it.  I also think West Seattle is well served by Ms Herbold.

  • Anne November 30, 2022 (7:40 am)

    I am not a Herbold fan-but I don’t have to like everything she says or does. Credit where credit is due -she came through big time -this time. Thank you Ms. Herbold. 

  • Mj November 30, 2022 (10:25 am)

    Mr J – I agree the fines need to be paid but the funds are already dedicated to I believe traffic safety items only and thus cannot be used as you suggested.

    • P D November 30, 2022 (9:23 pm)

      Anything other than more speed bumps and road closure signs…Well maybe not anything…but not those things!!

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