You know there’s trouble when the accountant pulls out the good ol’ can-kicking metaphor. “We’ve been kicking the can down the road and now it’s stuck in a ditch,” said Wenatchee Finance Director Deanne McDaniel. Well, not exactly. It’s more like we had a party, drank the can dry, and now we wonder why we’re thirsty. The empty can won’t satisfy.
This is more than verbal games over a sparse budget. It involves public safety and the fundamental duties of city government. The Wenatchee Fire Department needs a new fire engine, and preferably two. The current equipment is ancient, often broken and nearing the end. The city once prudently set aside money on a regular basis in anticipation of this need. Fire engines are not inexpensive. Two could run to $1 million. But, sadly, the savings were spent elsewhere, partly for a near-bankrupt ice arena. There’s nothing left in the can.