Defeated proposition for public safety gets second wind

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) More equipment to keep the city safe — that's what a defeated proposition on the spring ballot would have allowed with the addition of two more ambulances and funding for more firefighters.

A new, but similar, proposal is getting a second wind from some city leaders.

Fire Chief Denis LeBlanc says since proposition 2 failed, there have been days where almost every single ambulance was responding to a call, leaving some Alaskans in jeopardy.

"We only had 2 ambulances left to cover the 300,000 people left in the municipality and that's not satisfactory for my opinion," Chief LeBlanc said about a recent Friday afternoon.

In the past seven years, Anchorage firefighters have seen a nearly 50 percent increase to the amount of transports in the city. LeBlanc says only one additional ambulance has been added to the fleet since 2010.

If passed, the bond package would have approved funding to start a fire academy earlier this year, but voters axed taking on the debt.

Chief LebBanc says he's going to ask the Anchorage Assembly for $900,000 of funding from the state's capital budget, dedicated to the city, to help off set losing nearly two dozen firefighters by the end of 2018.

"If I'm down eight people per day, I've got to take apparatus out of service and that again, is unacceptable just like not having enough ambulances," he said.

Even though we're more than six months out from the April municipal election, Anchorage Assemblyman, Dick Traini is working on a proposal for voters to consider.

"It will deal with making sure we get the equipment we need and the bodies to man the equipment," Traini said.

Assemblyman Traini will need to get the support from six other Assembly members, and the mayor to move the proposal forward and into the hands of voters.

"If they decide to tell us no again, that's fine. But they need to be understanding that they may be the one calling for 911 and if that equipment isn't there because we don't have it, then it's their fault and it could be their lives or their families lives and that just doesn't work for me," he said.

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