1. #1
    Forum Member
    bfdhoser1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    69

    Angry Are "Volunteers Milking tax payers" ? ! ?

    This appeared in the Buffalo News Blogs section : Personaly I whole heartedly disagree I am adding a page link in hopes of those reading this might post their opinions : This isn't the first time they have tried to slam the fire services.


    (quote Bufnews)
    Some fire companies sit on piles of cash
    The men and women who put themselves in danger to fight fires, who climb into burning buildings to rescue the inhabitants, are heroes who deserve deep gratitude.(SMOKE)

    That having been said, it doesn't mean that volunteer fire companies shouldn't face scrutiny of their budgets and spending.(FIRE!)
    In Erie County, many volunteer fire companies build up substantial reserves with taxpayer money. Essentially, they bill taxpayers in advance for the replacement of vehicles and buildings, years down the road.

    That's cheaper than having to borrow the money, advocates say. But it rubs some people the wrong way. While town governments publicly discuss big expenditures before they happen, fire companies can make their decisions without public input.

    Should taxpayers have a better window on fire companies' spending?

    -- Fred O. Williams(End quote)

    Click on the "Blogs" section page link - it is in the upper right hand corner of their front page - click on "Inside the News" - scroll down to article!


    Click on the link below:http://buffalonews.com/inside_the_ne...ire-compa.html

    http://buffalonews.typepad.com/insid...ire-compa.html
    Last edited by bfdhoser1; 11-12-2008 at 08:33 PM.
    www.bfd-firedepartment.com
    23 years B.F.D. Local 282
    13 years U.A.W
    U.S.Military - Joined.

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    497

    Default

    It would be interesting to know what 'big reserves' are. It a department that has $50k considered 'big reserves'. Is it 100k etc.

    The next question is what useful input would taxpayers have in the selection of a new engine or truck?

    I see it more as a move to grab funds and/or funding for something else.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,678

    Default

    If you don't believe there are volunteer fire departments in this country that do have large reserves of tax payer monies...you need to get out more.

    Do all? No.
    Do most? No.
    Do some? Absolutely.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    MTKROUSH's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Hernando MS USA
    Posts
    558

    Default

    Should all or most be tightly scrutinized for the actions of few?
    To err is human, To forgive divine and at times I am as much of both as you will ever find

  5. #5
    Banned

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    8,677

    Default

    In NY, local governments are allowed to put reserves aside to plan for future purchases. There is a vote at some point in the process by the public. I don't recall if it is to set up the reserve or to expend the monies or both. This only applies to fire districts in the state of NY. In our county, there are 17 departments, 2 are paid, 2 are districts, the remainder are private entities that contract to the towns for fire protection.

    In the case of the fire districts, we create a budget, it gets submitted to the town board who either approves or disapproves, and then taxes are levied. Here is the great part. Of the $1,000 I pay in taxes, about $50 is for fire protection.

    P.S. the link doesn't work

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Clarksburg, IN
    Posts
    134

    Question Reserves

    We are a private entity that has memberships. These are the citizens in our district. Through an annual meeting they are allowed to ask about our expenditures and we report on our activities for the year. As far as the contracts we have with the townships, that money is no where near enough to buy any big ticket items. That is worked out directly with the trustees. We reach an agreement then use the money as agreed. Another item to keep in mind, or at least we do, is that the volunteers are usually living in the area they cover and we get no pay or compensation and we PAY taxes just like everyone else. We don't want them increased any more that any one else. I do believe there are those that work at accumulating money for big ticket items, but based on most tax bases across the country how else do you pay for a $200,000 truck?

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber
    voyager9's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Southern NJ
    Posts
    2,007

    Default

    Personally I don't see a problem with banking money for an upcoming big expense. It seems like the right way to do it financially since the company could collect interest on the sum for the years preceding the purchase, rather then paying interest to the bank after it.

    The whole thing should be done transparently, though. Here any big-ticket item would have to get voted on by the tax payer to carry the bond. The same should be true even if we were trying to collect money up front.

    With respect to the article it seems like their railing against the Fire Companies holding large reserves, but the argument they use seems rather week. If a company is trying to raise money for the purchase of a $500,000 engine over the course of 5 years, then by year 4 they're going to have a significant savings piled up. Is that necessarily bad? No.. but again it comes back to transparency and the tax payer's participation and visibility.
    So you call this your free country
    Tell me why it costs so much to live
    -3dd

  8. #8
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,678

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MTKROUSH View Post
    Should all or most be tightly scrutinized for the actions of few?
    Define "tightly scrutinized". We file a form 990 (i thnk that is the right form) as non-profit. It shows our income and expenses. Our budget from the Town, which is taxes, is as open record as any/all town expenses.

    Some members feel that we are being scrutinized. Some of us believe we are being honest.

    If you have nothing to hide, there is nothing to fear.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  9. #9
    Forum Member
    bfdhoser1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    69

    Default 175 views - few comments ? ! ?

    Thanks for reading this - pass it on - The Buffalo News has repeatedly tried to label "Volunteer Firefighters" and Full time "Paid" Firemen/women as self absorbed tax eaters.

    I think a handful of "Politicians" are pushing to gain control of those funds. These people(Elected ones) can't seem to manage their own out of control spending habits.

    They never post the dollars saved by volunteers - just the costs. They see an account idle and want to grab it. Do volunteers actualy want "Elected Local Government Politicians" - steering how that money is spent?

    The first thing they "Politicians will do is create a "Board of Managers" , fill it with "Patronage Appointees" , of course they will have to get "Small" paychecks. Maybe even some healthcare , how about classifing it as a "Civil Service Appointment" - then they could get into the pension fund to.! ? !

    Another useless layer of "Government" supported by our tax dollars and a portion of the "Volunteers" budgets.

    Heres the link again for those who missed it - Thanks for your assistance .

    http://buffalonews.typepad.com/insid...ire-compa.html







    http://buffalonews.typepad.com/insid...ire-compa.html
    www.bfd-firedepartment.com
    23 years B.F.D. Local 282
    13 years U.A.W
    U.S.Military - Joined.

  10. #10
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Southeast PA
    Posts
    110

    Smile What's wrong with investing?

    In some cases, the fire company invests money and uses the gains to pay for large ticket items. If there were no "stockpile", the financial burden of large expenditures would be greater on the municipality. In PA, the municipal govenment is responsible for providing fire and ems services for thier citizens. That doesn's mean they have to have a municipal fire department, but they have to have an agreement with an organization to provide these services. If over the years, the orgainzation was able to live within thier budget and save some of the surplus, they would be wise to invest it so that they can be less of a burden down the road. Just seems logical to me. Last year was the first time, to my recollection, that our township actually increased thier contribution to our fire company, and it has to have been longer than 10 years since they have done that. In that time, I'm sure things have gotten more expensive, and we respond to more emergencies, but we are spending the "surplus" money to make it happen, not having the municipality raise taxes. Of course, if our investments don't keep making money, this could become a problem. But that's another conversation for those who post in the "Obama will fix it all" threads.

  11. #11
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    Location
    Schenectady, NY
    Posts
    460

    Default

    In NYS the Fire District does not submit a budget to the town. It is a separate taxing entity, that has their budget voted on by the tax payers. It is a Fire Protection District that has there budget approved by the town council. They are a private not-for-profit organization that is paid to provide fire protection to an area.
    Stephen J Bourassa
    Latham FD (NY)
    member since 1969
    challenge competitor since 1993

  12. #12
    Forum Member
    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Maryland (DC Suburb)
    Posts
    5,738

    Default

    We do this too but it isn't some BS. Apparatus replacement is planned out for the next 20 years along with the estimated cost of each of them for the next 20 years. Every year, the town deposits a fixed amount of money into the replacement fund which stays there until it is needed. When it is time for replacement, we still have to put on a show about why need it and justify spending that $500,000 at a town meeting or two. The board of selectman will then approve it and the money is spent.

    This isn't wastefully sitting on tax dollars. We'd be spending it whether it was in an account already or not. This method just ensures that some idiots aren't going to use the money to put new potted plants on the median downtown or some other useless stuff rather than replacing the 30yr old truck.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  13. #13
    Banned

    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    8,677

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fitguy51 View Post
    In NYS the Fire District does not submit a budget to the town. It is a separate taxing entity, that has their budget voted on by the tax payers. It is a Fire Protection District that has there budget approved by the town council. They are a private not-for-profit organization that is paid to provide fire protection to an area.
    In our district, the fire commissioners get together with the chief and develop a budget. This budget is sent to the town board who either approves, disapproves, or modifies it. The budget then goes into the regular county tax bill. But this only applies to districts. In my county, we have two paid city departments, 2 fire districts, and 13 independent fire companies. Of note, one of the districts (ours) contracts out to one of the independents, to provide coverage. It's a geographical issue and makes sense. However, the 13 independents develop their own budgets and go to the respective towns and create a contract for services. I know of one department that actually gets their funding from two different towns.

    The point here is that these 13 independent fire companies are not government entities. That means that don't have to do a low bid, they don't have to follow government procurement policy, they don't have to follow government ethics standards.

  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber
    BULL321's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Western, NC
    Posts
    3,428

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    This isn't wastefully sitting on tax dollars. We'd be spending it whether it was in an account already or not. This method just ensures that some idiots aren't going to use the money to put new potted plants on the median downtown or some other useless stuff rather than replacing the 30yr old truck.
    Amen Brother.

    Heres our problem, new town manager new ideas, town has no money to do anything extra. The Town manager & certain board members need some money that they dont have to renew the down town area. Guess who has some money save up. That's right the VFD. Never mind that we have been saving it for the last 10 years. Never mind that 1/2 of our buget comes from the towns fire tax (dept. is owned by the town) and the other 1/2 is paid by the county, (for the area that we protect out in the county) all of which is ear marked for the fire dept. So since we have been frugal with our buget, and not spent the whole amount every year, down to the very last pennie. Since we have save monies to purchase new equpment/add on to our building, the new town manager wants to steal our money for BS. When asked how he would pay for our new ladder/ or the new engine that we have be saving up for, he advised us that he would cross that bridge when he came to it. The Cheif reminded the manger that the town board gave its approval for the FD to puts its extra funds in a capital prodjects account to be used only for the FD. So for now we believe that our money is safe, but with the current economy in the sh*tter and they members of the town board slowly changing, we are a little on edge.

    Stay Safe
    Bull
    Stay Safe
    Bull


    “Guys if you get hurt, we’ll help you. If you get sick we’ll treat you. If you want to bitch and moan, then all I can tell you is to flick the sand out of your slit, suck it up or get the hell out!”
    - Capt. Marc Cox CFD

    Nothing in life is so exhilarating as to be shot at without result.
    -WINSTON CHURCHILL

  15. #15
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rural Iowa
    Posts
    3,106

    Default

    In today's "environment" saving for 10 or 20 years for purchase of a new truck is a likely a loosing game.

    For example: if you on Jan 1 2008 you had $100k saved over recent years to buy a new pumper. That rural pumper might have cost $180k on 1Jan, today would cost $190-200k just due to material increases. Jan 1 2009 will cost $15-20k more due to NFPA 1901-2009. Jan 1, 2010 new envirowacko EPA requirements will eliminate several popular engines and likely increase cost an additional $10-20k. And likely will have at least one price increase in 2009. In the mean time you continue running whatever you have now.

    So how is that interest you're recieving on the $ down at the bank (3%) going to help you out? Likely smart thing to do is to spend the $ you have on hand and lease purchase the balance. Get the new truck you need (if you need on) on order before Dec 30.

  16. #16
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Southern Indiana
    Posts
    497

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    In today's "environment" saving for 10 or 20 years for purchase of a new truck is a likely a loosing game.

    For example: if you on Jan 1 2008 you had $100k saved over recent years to buy a new pumper. That rural pumper might have cost $180k on 1Jan, today would cost $190-200k just due to material increases. Jan 1 2009 will cost $15-20k more due to NFPA 1901-2009. Jan 1, 2010 new envirowacko EPA requirements will eliminate several popular engines and likely increase cost an additional $10-20k. And likely will have at least one price increase in 2009. In the mean time you continue running whatever you have now.

    So how is that interest you're recieving on the $ down at the bank (3%) going to help you out? Likely smart thing to do is to spend the $ you have on hand and lease purchase the balance. Get the new truck you need (if you need on) on order before Dec 30.
    That only works if you have the money now for the truck. If you need say 200k and have 100k, you can't do anything. except keep saving.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 92
    Last Post: 10-30-2007, 02:14 PM
  2. Replies: 7
    Last Post: 07-11-2003, 07:06 AM
  3. "Today" Show story on Volunteers - 7-4
    By WTFD10 in forum Volunteer Forum
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 07-09-2003, 08:26 AM
  4. Paid Volunteers...are they really "volunteer?"
    By ThNozzleman in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 46
    Last Post: 01-10-2003, 12:10 PM
  5. Please read "pros vs volunteers"
    By tc1chief in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 65
    Last Post: 12-03-2001, 12:58 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register