Does Fire Dept 0% budget increase signal a 0% target city wide?

So the Fire Dept has managed suddenly to run their trucks longer, wasn't there some underwriter rule against this planned obsolesce given as the reason we needed replace trucks a few years ago? Or have the underwriters decided that high wages and full staffing is more important to a department than that all equipment be less than 20 years old? Given that 90% of the dept budget goes to wages and benefits, it is pretty clear, given the wonderful wage package they piggy backed on, that by 2019 something will have to give.
Well of course us tax payers will give, if not now, certainly well before 2019. Are the 0% increase efforts of Fire an indication that Mayor Mike and the gang of 6 are holding departments to 0% for this year at least? Seems clear that all 30 odd candidates must have heard the tax drum being drummed on the door steps last fall. Was this beat enough to scare them into telling staff to hold the line for this year – which is sure to result in long term pain unless some full and frank debate and community agreement is reached about tax levels and the use of the resulting income. Of course as a society we have had nearly 20 years of governments at the senior levels, tell us that taxes are bad and that we will all get rich if the rich get richer faster and keep more of their riches to invest .... in jobs? Lol...
The sad fact is that with 18,000 people and a decent, by Van Is standards, industrial tax base, we are still too small and with too much overhead to run to support the full functions, at least as we presently define them, of a city. We either need to take a long, hard and no doubt acrimonious look at what the city does and for whom, or we bite the bullet and keep paying more. A one year tax increase holiday in every 5 or so will only prolong the pain and make but a small dent in the compounding effect of the increases. There is a clear need for a valley wide look at the situation – which of course Alberni First talked about but seem to have dropped. I am tired of hearing about my friends in Cheery Creek, with much nicer homes than mine, who pay more in water than they do it taxes. Do they not use the services provided and paid by the city and residents more or less every time they cross the boundary? Our infrastructure issues are valley wide.
Well, like many things in life a district wide solution ain't gonna happen. But the mayor better start looking at some serious and probably structural changes over the next four years, or be prepared to start layoffs, 'cause the CUPE and operating cost increases are sooner or later going to mean that departments with no operating funds for materials are going to have staff with no work to do. Unless of course retirement numbers come to the rescue and existing staff take on more duties, which is probably not sustainable without significant organizational changes. Tough stuff for us all.