Mayor Sanders presented an emergency mid-year budget change to the City Council in November 2008 to try to close a $48 million deficit. The revision recommended closing several libraries and community centers and cut some city jobs. It also eliminated funding for maintaining the fire pits. The city council rejected closing the libraries and reinstated some jobs but left in the elimination of the fire rings.
Good question! According to the city, it costs $173,000 per year to maintain 186 fire rings. That is almost $1,000 per fire ring per year. Follow-up question: How can I get that job?! I don’t really know, but several people have posted offering to move to San Diego and do the work for half the price!
Well, it’s the way that they are cleaned. Here is the process…The pit is lifted by a front loader (like a bulldozer) and moved out of the way. The sand from under the pit is then scooped up by the loader and put into a dump truck. A sand sweeping machine then sweeps the area that was scooped. The loader then puts back the fire ring. The two-man crew then goes to the next ring. This job supposedly takes 30 minutes per fire pit. When the dump truck is full, it takes the sand away to be cleaned.
This job is repeated weekly.
You’d think. I don’t know what other cities do. If you can find out, either by asking or by taking pictures, please let us know! We’ll give you credit if you’d like.
The $173,000 also funds the replacement of broken pits. Yes, these pits are made out of 2,000 pounds of reinforced concrete. Maybe cleaning them with bulldozers could be hazardous to their health.
$173,000 is about 0.015% of the $1.2 Billion general fund and 0.005% (5 one-hundred-thousandths) of the $3.1 Billion total city budget.
According to the Union Tribune, “Mayoral spokesman Darren Pudgil said the proposal to close the fire pits was included for ‘no other rationale beyond having to spread these cuts across the city.’”
I thought you’d never ask…
Mission Bay Park alone attracts 15 million visitors per year. So fire ring cleanup costs about 1 penny per visitor to Mission Bay to clean all fire rings in the city.
Tourism brings $8 Billion per year to San Diego
Maybe, except the city general fund budget has increased 55% in 5 years. Do you get 55% more services from the city? The 2009 budget increased $86 million just from 2008. Where did this money go? In 1991, San Diego had over 400 fire rings but only a small fraction of today’s income.
San Diego’s combined fire and police budget is about $600 million (half of the general fund). Up 50% in 5 years.
Yes…and it passed with over 66% of the vote. It is for improvements only, not for maintenance.
It is. It’s like bulldozing the sidewalks because we can’t afford to sweep them. Or using actual examples of what Prop C money can be used for…replacing the sidewalks while removing the toilet paper from the restrooms.
The city says that due to liability and toxic substances, volunteers will not be accepted. It also doesn’t help that volunteers would be taking the jobs of two paid city workers.
But volunteers clean the fire pits in San Francisco, state parks and national forests all the time? Good point, but that won’t help you.
The city says no. It is all-or-nothing.
In an apparent attempt to make people mad, the city told the Union Tribune that someone would need to come up with $259,000 to make the city stop picking up the fire rings. (18 months worth of maintenance money)
Doesn’t this sound a bit like extortion…give us your money or we take your fire rings? (this is an actual comment from the web) No comment.
Please email us at email@example.com
Also, phone the Mayor and the city council and complain. This is actually quite easy and they will be nice to you if you are polite. You just call one of the numbers and tell the person your name, the neighborhood you live in, and that you are calling about the fire pits. They will connect you to someone you can talk to. If you get a voice mail, they will probably call you back. Tell them your stories about the fire pits.
Yes. If you want to donate (or coordinate) a serious pile of cash or you want to become a corporate sponsor, you can call the Mayor’s office.
We are also looking at ways to raise funds. Send us an email. We will arrange for a charitable organization to handle the collection and distribution of the money. Details will follow.
Yes. Please email us and call the Mayor’s office.