AUSTIN — More fire stations are desperately needed in five Austin neighborhoods, the Austin Firefighters Association's president says.
Travis Country; Berdoll Farms/Del Valle; Loop 360/Davenport Ranch; Goodnight Ranch; and Canyon Creek have a response time of eight minutes less than 50 percent of the time, AFA President Bob Nicks said.
Nicks said that's why he is asking for additional fire stations in these areas.
"Your base services need to be taken care of, especially when you're collecting the taxes and the dues," Nicks said. "It's almost criminal in my mind that we're not providing the stations that we need to."
As with many of Austin's issues, growth is at the root. The city's population grew by nearly 40 percent in the last 15 years. But that didn't come with new fire stations. One is currently under construction.
In 2016, the Austin City Council passed a resolution addressing the critical need in the five neighborhoods.
But Nicks said no action has been taken. So he's come up with a resolution of his own.
He proposes that the city build two temporary fire stations within six months. Then he proposes the city actually plan for the staffing and building of the five fire stations in the five neighborhoods in the next six years.
He has even reached out to State Sen. Kirk Watson to see if the now empty toll building on Interstate 30 in Elroy can be used as a temporary fire station.
"Again, it's embarrassing. We're the 11th largest city in the nation," Nicks said. "We're growing faster than any other city in the nation and we don't have a plan to build fire stations."
But Nicks said he needs the public's help to get the resolution passed. He plans to present it to the City Council on Thursday, May 24. For more information, go here.