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Thread: Impressive (I hope) rant

  1. #21
    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    Before the town-wide fire district was formed, the little fire district in the hamlet in which I live (maybe a square mile, probably less, around a hundred structures) had the third highest tax levy in the county. It yielded all of $5,000 a year.

    A contract with the township for the area we covered outside the fire district got as high as $25,000 before the new district was formed. And there was some question as to whether we were getting our fair share (the possibility being that we were getting more than our fair share of the total levy).

    We owned the station, three tankers, and the rescue. The "small" fire district owned the two pumpers.

    The district put the fuel in the fire department's trucks, but that was it, maintenance wise. If we needed more modney, we held a dance, or a chicken barbeque.

    As I said before, the current fire district pays all the bills - we don't have to fund-raise. But we do, albeit not at the level we once did.

    It doesn't take away from training opportunities, as we only hold about four events a year, not counting the rentals of the banquet hall for weddings, etc, which we have minimal contact with.

    One must remember, too, that we don't work in a vacuum. Oftimes the total tax levy includes lighting and other special districts, village, town, and county taxes, and school taxes. None of which have anything to do with fire protection, but all of which have to do with the total tax load. We may think an increase of fifty cents in the fire levy is insignificant, but when tied together with other taxes and their increases, the total bill can be pretty bad. Perhaps enough to cause people to move to somewhere where taxes are less daunting.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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  2. #22
    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Hey, if you are happy continuing to spend time raising money, while making excuses for your community not funding you, have at it. I agree with fundraising for extras, but will NEVER agree with fundraising for essential equipment for the fire department. I am done being quiet about it here and will be making regular appearances at village board meetings to express my dspleasure.
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    “The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” Leo F. Buscaglia

    This place gets weirder and weirder every day...

  3. #23
    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    Fyred - I don't think it's usually a case of wanting to fund-raise, although as I've mentioned, it can be an important aspect of the social side of the community.

    The township in which I live has an assessed value of over $700 Million dollars. Raising the $400 grand it takes to run the district is fairly easy.

    Another township in the county had an assessed value of about $48 Million. Their 65 cents per thousand tax rate (half again higher than ours) raised just over $37K in 2011 (the last year I have the numbers for).

    The most rural township (and rural aptly describes it) contracts for coverage. Their assessed value is just under $30 million.

    If you live in a relatively well-off community, there is no reason not to be fully funded by taxes. If you're in a poor community, not so much so. Unpaid property taxes on vacant properties don't pay for much fuel.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  4. #24
    Forum Member conrad427's Avatar
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    Well, you asked for it Fyred! 200 hours and 65 runs last year!
    Seriously though, I agree fully with you. I was recently appointed maintenance officer in our dept. I wish I had said no now. We recently had to buy a set of batteries for our back up engine. I was told that it would have to be cleared by the county, as no money was available to keep the engines running. I was flabbergasted.
    Yes, we are suckers.
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  5. #25
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    its funny that the same people that talk about welfare and 'enabling" people. For some reason don't seem to realize that by fundraising they are enabling, both the local government and many of the citizens in the area.
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  6. #26
    Forum Member conrad427's Avatar
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    I live in a rural farming/ranching area, not an especially wealthy region. We have land owners that would gladly pay more tax to better fund the fire dept. In fact they were willing to have their property tax raised to provide work comp for us until the Governor told them they could not as he would not allow any new taxes under his watch(democrat).
    A tax district is the only fair way to fund a volunteer fire department. Under our system a small number of people fund the dept. (donate at fund raisers.) while a great many benefit. The road dept. buys a new grader every year and I have to beg to get a new tire for the tender.

    It might be better if we all hated this job, we would not be willing to give so much.
    The fire service is about service to our fellow man.
    There is a trust that must not be broken and we are the keepers of that trust.
    Captain Dave LeBlanc

  7. #27
    Forum Member HuntPA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by voyager9 View Post
    And that is fine as long as there is no perception that those members are 'firefighters'. Having a 'finance' division of the fire company for the people who are dedicated to social and fundraising. If those tasks are critical to the operation of the department, as in some places they are, then having dedicated people to do them is not a bad thing. The problem comes in when you have members who only want to do fundraising but want to be called firefighters and put everyone at risk when they put on their gear.
    They are "Social Members". If they want to fight fires, etc., they need to tell the chief that they want to go "Active". At that time they will start a 6 month probation and will be expected to attend trainings and all of the other things.
    Typically around here departments have "members" and "firefighters".

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