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Mayor Pushes Fire Plan Forward Following Weekend Blaze

Mayor Michael Pavia announced on Monday that he was seeking a lasting decision on the passage of his proposed Volunteer Fire Department Plan, which has been disputed by local fire companies and Stamford residents for nearly two years.

A much-publicized which occured over the weekend has given Mayor Michael Pavia cause to push a revision of his fire service plan forward, with the hope that Stamford residents and firefighters will be more accepting of the plan than they

"I have an important responsibility, which is the safety of every resident, commuter, or person who happens to visiting this city," Pavia said. "We experienced a serious structural fire...and thankfully none of the residents or firefighters were injured...however, it was an important reminder for us to move forward, and resolve the long-standing issues surrounding the delivery of fire service in the city of Stamford. Pending before the Board of Representatives is my fire plan. I am urging them to act now and pass the plan."

Pavia's fire service plan has been two years in the making, and has undergone several . In addition to being the most outspoke opponents of Pavia's plan, The Stamford Professional Firefighters Association generally cites the same reasons for their resistance:

  • A funding source, which SPFA believes will result in a tax increase for areas covered by the plan.
  • A stretch of manpower, as firefighters and fire staff will be taken from several companies to form one Stamford Volunteer Fire Department, situated downtown, which will cover some of Stamford's most-populated areas.
  • A stretch of currently-existing resources.

Last December, SPFA president Brendan Keatley a then-recent fire as a flaw in the fire plan, rather than a reason to expediate it. Since that time, the firefighters of Stamford, including Stamford Fire and Rescue, have to the Board of Representatives.

"The mayor has ignored the SFRD plan and has yet to provide a detailed financial analysis comparing that plan to the mayor’s multi-million dollar outsourcing plan. This analysis was requested by the Board of Representatives in May, five months ago," a SFRD representative stated several weeks ago.

"Despite all the criticism that you may be hearing, the Volunteer Fire Department plan is truly a great plan," Pavia said. "It resolves a long-standing litigation against the city of Stamford, it provides better service and better fire response in the volunteer districts, it does so without any increase in taxes to those districts, and it will save every taxpayer in the city of Stamford from carrying an additional cost of about $15 million."

Pavia also states that the initial alternative to his fire plan, which involved changing the charter and expanding the fire service of the Long Ridge, Belltown, Turn of River, and Springdale fire companies, was not "cost effective", and would've been likely to cause a tax increase "well beyond the mill-rate adjustment with this plan."

Only 2% of those participating in a recent Stamford Patch poll were willing to accept a tax increase in exchange for better fire coverage.

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