Editor, Manteca Bulletin,
I understand the Manteca City Council will be considering next Tuesday evening the possible construction of fire station No. 5 by the year 2020. I would point out that fire station No. 5, much like previous fire stations, is 5-10 years behind the “need.” At the present time there are 2,958 homes (9,761 residents) outside of the 5-minute emergency response limit. In addition, another 1,468 homes will be under construction, which equates to another 4,844 residents. All in all, if fire station No. 5 is actually funded and constructed by 2020, 14,605 residents will have been outside of the 5-minute response time limit; most for over 10 years.
Five years ago the fire station would have cost less than $1.5 million; the latest cost estimate is $5 million and by 2020 it will be $6 million. According to my calculations (using simple math) it would have been far less expensive to construct fire station No. 5 before the 2,958 were built; doing so would have saved a great deal of money for both the City and the Developers, and more importantly, 9,761 residents would be safer today.
Why is the City Council constantly behind the curve, so to speak? Because they work on the premise that fees collected during new home permitting will pay for the fire station. Apparently they did not factor that accumulating funds for the fire station at a rate of one home at a time over a ten-year period is quickly outpaced by an escalating annual cost increase of 6-10 percent.
Manteca Council when will you see the big picture; you are gambling with lives as you accommodate the developers. Fire stations need to be built in advance of new homes and the developers need to “upfront” fund their construction.