Greg Wright, the President of the Charlottesville Professional Firefighters Association, and Matt Warne, the Vice President of the Charlottesville Professional Firefighters Association, joined me live on The I Love CVille Show to analyze the needs of one of Charlottesville’s most important yet underfunded departments.
The Charlottesville Fire Department requested $1,300,000 from City Council and City Manager Tarron Richardson for 12 new firefighters to staff ambulances for a department that is stretched thin. Richardson is currently offering resistance on this request in his proposed 2021 budget.
“[The Charlottesville Fire Department] is not advocating for the reduction in services for any other department in the City of Charlottesville,” Wright said in an I Love CVille Show exclusive. “We understand how vital each one of these players are to making this community the vibrant community that it is, but there has to be some plan in place to ensure we do not reduce the services [of the Charlottesville Fire Department].”
I asked Wright what neighborhoods would be impacted first if City Council and City Hall do not allocate the proper funding to the Charlottesville Fire Department.
“Right now, what is being suggested is shutting down one of our engine companies at a headquarters station,” Wright explained. “If we shut down Engine 7, [which is what is being proposed], this will impact the following neighborhoods: Ridge Street, Fifeville, Johnson Village, Starr Hill, 10th & Page and Venable.”
I asked Wright if City Hall is essentially proposing shutting down coverage of Charlottesville’s most densely populated, most vulnerable and historically African American neighborhoods?
“In a word, ‘yes,'” Wright said.
“If we were to shut down Engine 5, then we are now talking North Downtown, Martha Jefferson, Woolen Mills, Belmont and the other section of Ridge Street,” Wright said. “If we shut down an engine company and stop EMS transports, we are saving less than a $1,000,000, but it is a drastic cut for our ability to provide fire suppression services and to provide advanced life support [in Charlottesville]. It would be a huge impact that the community will feel immediately.”
The I Love CVille Show airs live before a worldwide audience Monday – Friday from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm on The I Love CVille Network.
Listen to the full show as an iTunes Podcast here: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/greg-wright-matt-warne-cville-professional-firefighters/id1473278344?i=1000467903131
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