Ladder Company 161 in Coney Island and Engine Company 284 in Dyker Heights, along with six other Brooklyn fire companies slated to be cut, will remain open as part of a last minute budget deal between the mayor and City Council.
The yearly drama is described by the Brooklyn Paper as a “kabuki dance that typically features a mayor intent on cutting vital services only to allow himself and Council leaders to claim credit when those services are “restored” in the final agreement.”
Still, community activists were pleased that their work paid off.
“I’m ecstatic,” Fran Vella-Marrone, president of the Dyker Heights Civic Association, which was fighting to keep Engine 284 on 79th Street and 11th Avenue, told the Brooklyn Paper. “The first priority of this city is to ensure the safety of its citizens, so this was a wise decision. This engine company plays an integral part in the safety and security of Dyker Heights and the neighborhoods that surround it.”
However, the annual reprieve for neighborhood fire houses comes at a cost. Fire companies dodging the budget bullet require an additional burden to be shouldered by the city’s underage residents.
Non-voting young people were, by far, the group hardest hit by budget cuts. There will be significant reductions to funding for the Department of Education, as well as Parks, DOT, Hospitals, the Administration for Children’s Services and Brooklyn Public Library.