For several years now, the town of Zebulon’s capital improvement plan has included one not-so-little item that seems to be glossed over, pushed back and put off time after time.
The town needs another fire station. The town has the land. Building a building is expensive. Staffing it and equipping it is a cost that never stops. But then again, the threat of fire and the inevitability of wrecks and sick calls will never abate. Indeed, as the town grows they will only increase.
And now comes news from fire Chief Chris Perry that the town is not meeting its response time goals on calls within the town limits. They aren’t missing by much, mind you. And they are meeting their goals for response to calls outside the town limits.
But this is a problem that’s only likely to get worse as the town grows, traffic increases and building becomes more dense.
So what’s the matter with an average response time of 7 minutes, 30 seconds, instead of 7 minutes flat?
Plenty. Aside from the fact that fire can grow quickly once it starts, there are all kinds of insurance implications that hit the pocketbooks of property owners in the area served by the Zebulon Fire Department.
An insurance company that insures against fire is much more likely to offer a reasonable rate to a property owner in an area where the fire department has proven it can arrive quickly. They are equally as likely to stick it to the property owner in an area where the fire department takes a long time to arrive. Time, the saying goes, is money.
The town has spent a lot of money in recent years on its new town hall and in renovating the old armory for use as a community center.
It’s time now for commissioners to focus seriously on public safety. Budget constraints in the town of Zebulon are very real. They are serious. It’s important that town commissioners take a serious look at how that money is spent and whether the priorities are where they really should be.