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Sandy Journal

Sandy City Council to consider sacrificing $15,000 meal budget to benefit fire department

May 24, 2018 12:46PM ● By Justin Adams

During the May 22 Sandy City Council meeting, councilwoman Maren Barker submitted a budget amendment proposal that would transfer $15,000 from the council’s budget to the city’s fire department.

The $15,000 is currently used for dinners prior to the weekly city council meetings for the councilors and city employees that attend.

Barker said that she was inspired to try to find extra funding for the fire department after recently spending time with the department at a recent training activity.

“While I was there I got to meet and talk to many of the firemen and women. I asked them ‘In a perfect world, what would you want?’” Barker explained during the council meeting.

“Each fireman or woman had something that they brought up which was something that was really important to them,” said Barker. “It really hit a nerve in my heart for the fire department.”

An emotional Barker then explained that she went through various city budgets looking for a place where money could be taken and given to the fire department. She ended up at the council budget, particularly the line item “Council Executive Staff Meetings.”

“I just was hoping that we as a council would show our fire department that we care about them more than we care about dinner,” she said.

In her proposal, Barker provided a list of equipment that the fire department is in need of, as recommended by Fire Chief Bruce Cline.

Cline, however, noted during the city council meeting that he is more concerned with retaining firefighters.

“It doesn’t matter what equipment we have if there’s no one there to use it,” he said.

Council member Zach Robinson (who used to be a Sandy city firefighter) said that he liked where Barker was coming from, but said he would like to see a compromise, with the money coming from a different council budget that would allow the council to maintain its weekly Tuesday night dinners.

“I like the idea of being able to sit with our staff and department heads beforehand and talk. It builds teamwork,” he said.

The council unanimously voted to table discussion of Barker’s amendment proposal until next week’s meeting on Tuesday May 29, coinciding with a planned presentation from the fire department.