The University Record, May 6, 2002

University gift will give city new fire truck

By NoŽl Rozny
News and Information Services

The University has announced a gift of $400,000 to the City of Ann Arbor to purchase a new fire truck in order to support the Fire Department’s efforts to provide first-rate protection for the entire community, according to Jim Kosteva, director of community relations in the U-M Office of the Vice President for Government Relations. The gift represents a gesture of community support and a means to continue cooperation between the University and the city on a number of fronts, Kosteva says.

“The move is emblematic of the current era of cooperative relations between the city and the university, “ says Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje. “This gift will purchase a new aerial ladder truck for the Ann Arbor Fire Department, and will be fantastic for the fire department and the citizens of Ann Arbor.

“We need to replace a ladder truck at Station Two on the south side of town, near the intersection of Packard and East Stadium Boulevard, and this is a most welcome contribution.”

It could be months before the truck is ready to lift fire fighters into buildings, says Acting Fire Chief Thomas Schmid. Because of 9/11, “the New York Fire Department had to order so many trucks that production has been slower, so we don’t know when the truck will be ready,” he says.

The gift to the city “demonstrates the mutually beneficial ways in which the relationship between the city and the University has grown, and respects the challenges we face in providing a quality environment in which to work and live,” says Interim President B. Joseph White.

In addition to fire protection, the city also provides the University with water and sewer services, Kosteva says. The gift is only one of recent city-university collaborations, he points out. The University and Ann Arbor city officials worked together to build the new Forest Street parking structure. Since opening last summer, the structure has helped address parking needs on campus and in the city.

The state’s Fire Protection Fund allocates money to help municipalities pay for fire services, using a formula based on their percentage of tax-exempt property. Ann Arbor, like most communities that are home to public institutions, including universities, prisons and state buildings, has rarely received the full amount called for in the formula.

“Ann Arbor received $935,102 from the Fire Protection Fund in 2002, only about 50 percent of the amount determined by the formula,” Kosteva says. “This gift demonstrates the University’s willingness to work with the city on issues that concern all of us.”