Editorial: Roanoke’s budget pinches all

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The Roanoke Times editorial staff was quick to point the finger at the Roanoke Fire Fighters Association for showing support against a proposed budget cut that would take an engine out of service as well as decrease the workforce. They say we need to take our lumps and not speak out against the budget cuts. I say the Roanoke Times gets rid of all but one of the Roanoke Times Editorial writers and have one person do all the work…then not complain about it. Then again, no ones life depends on if the editorial column is written or not.

Roanoke firefighters raise a legitimate point in opposition to the city’s proposed budget: They need four firefighters to run the versatile fire truck called a quint. Council last year promised that level of staffing, but the proposed budget would strip the trucks to three firefighters.

That, they claim, is not enough personnel to fight fires on arrival (as two are required to enter burning structures while two stay outside). Firefighters, the public and the department’s coveted accreditation would all stand at risk.

On this point, council should go back to Fire-EMS Department Chief David Hoback and direct him to make budget revisions that protect the front line of public safety. But firefighters must realize they’ll have to give up something else and back away from the intimidation tactics they displayed during the budget hearing. (About 90 of them crowded into council chambers, rising to stand in solidarity behind their speakers.)

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