By Gagandeep Ghuman
Published: May 9, 2014
Cuts to volunteer fire fighter’s training budget won’t affect the safety of our community, says fire chief Russ Inouye.
Among other budget cuts, the district is proposing a $7,500 reduction in fire fighter volunteer hours.
The $7,500 represents extra weekend training that is periodically scheduled throughout the year, the district says. It’s scheduled to make up for training time lost due to stat holidays.
Fire chief Inouye said the specific training events don’t garner a high attendance by the volunteer fire fighters and represent a limited value to the group.
“The net affect will be minimal with regards to overall fire services,” he said.
The fire department has at present 48 volunteer firefighters, of which six are currently on leave for medical or work reasons.
Volunteer firefighter numbers fluctuate due to work commitments, various leaves of absences, and resignations, Inouye added.
He said the fire department had no plans to reduce volunteer number and will be recruiting new members in the fall.
Volunteer training budget cuts isn’t the only cut being implemented by the district.
Inter-library loan reduction will save $3500, but will result in more delays for inter-library loan books.
The inter-library loan book is a popular service: In 2013, library ordered 1480 books for its patrons and 1715 books in 2012.
Inter-library loan, however, isn’t the only service reduction at the library.
Council has also voted to reduce children and adult programs at the library. [manual_related_posts]
A summer reading program for children will be reduced, although there are few details available on the nature of that reduction. The program encourages reading by helping children keep track of what they are reading through the summer.
It’s still not clear which adult program will be reduced. Along with the library cuts, council also voted for less maintenance for sidewalks and community parks.
The animal shelter and pound office will see a reduction in office hours, a saving of $18,583, while fewer local government ads in the Squamish Chief will save the tax payers $4,000.
There will be reduced maintenance on select community parks, saving the tax payers $12,285.
There will also be reduction in sidewalk repairs and bike lane maintenance, a combined saving of $24,575.
Contractions worth $721, 195 are being proposed as of now, but these could change as the budget is finalised.