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In bad economic times, public safety shouldn’t be cut

Saturday, March 30, 2013
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In bad economic times, public safety shouldn’t be cut

Our area recently saw the end of a volunteer fire department located in Fonda.

It is sad that when financial times get tough, something like public safety gets cut first over other facets of municipal control. This is nothing new, but something of a first for our area.

The costs of being an emergency services organization have done nothing but go up year after year. An opinion I have, and many others as well, is if the costs of something have to go up, if it’s important it must be paid for.

Public safety in our area, with a growing older population and younger families coming in, is something that many depend on — even if they don’t realize it until they have the need to call 911 from home or are involved in an emergency involving their vehicle on a roadway.

Local governments, villages and towns need to start clearly looking at how they are spending valuable tax dollars. In the grand scheme of things, the results of the Fonda Fire Department closing its doors may lead to a decrease in the amount of tax dollars being spent on the purpose at hand, although the steps taken to get to that savings has been and will be debated for much time to come.

There are many examples in our county where there is duplication of services, services that cost taxpayers money. Tradition, organizational pride, personal feelings and lack of true understanding of issues leads to things not being done in the most fiscally responsible ways. This is something that can’t be sustained. Our local elected political boards have got to step back and, with the help of the emergency services in their areas, take a close look at where money can be saved, but still provide the best possible service to the taxpayers.

Things like consolidation are going to be more common in the future, either done at the local level or being forced from the state and federal level. Getting things done on our own terms will be much better than the alternative! It’s time to not only take the elected job seriously, but get to work on stretching each and every tax dollar as far as can be, for there is less revenue out there to be collected and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon!

J.D. Downing

Glen

 
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