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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Very Important All Must Read!!!!

    This article was taken from the Northwest Herald which is a newspaper in McHenry County IL, and it is very disturbing.

    Security gets smell of pork



    Some things simply are not the job of the federal government.

    For example, the purchase of basic equipment for local police and fire departments is not something federal money should be spent on. It is spent, however, because congressional representatives enjoy bringing treats back to their districts.

    In this sense, Homeland Security Department money has become another example of pork spending.

    For example, 16th District Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Ill., delivered a $69,000 grant to the Fox River Grove Fire Protection District for helmets, coats, pants and gloves. Money for these items should not be coming from the federal government.

    Another example of how Homeland Security spending misses the mark came with the announcement that the department would put 97,000 weather radios in schools at a cost of $5 million.

    Weather radios are nice to have, and this is a well-intentioned expenditure. But is it really an appropriate use of federal money? In a word, no.

    School districts already have addressed the issue. For example, Woodstock District 200 has weather radios. It's common sense. If school districts need weather radios, that is a need that should be taken up by the individual district, not the federal government.

    The spending of Homeland Security money, which according to the San Francisco Chronicle, reached $50 billion in 2006, needs to be better scrutinized.

    In a Feb. 19 story, the Chronicle examined how Homeland Security money is being spent: Nautilus exercise equipment, free weights and a Bowflex machine for a fire department in New Jersey; Kevlar vests for police dogs in Ohio; and state-of-the-art emergency radios for Mason County, Wash., that were not compatible with the county's existing radios.

    Homeland Security should be focused on national issues, such as securing this nation's porous borders or ensuring that shipping containers at ports are inspected.

    Congress needs to do a better job evaluating and prioitizing Homeland Security spending.
    Last edited by TRUCK61; 10-04-2006 at 09:53 PM.


  2. #2
    Forum Member BFDNJFF's Avatar
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    Being the Devils advocate I can see where he is coming from in some ways. The government should not have to supply the local cities and towns with equipment because thats what local taxes should be used for and if that is not enough then maybe regionalization of departments needs to be done. In the same sense some communities can just not afford the equipment and this is there only option. Either way the government does need to have a better system of who gets grant money and how its spent.
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  3. #3
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    This is an issue I'm torn on. I really think that federal money should be spent on the needs of the entire nation. Nothing changes on a federal level if a fire department doesn't have air packs or turnouts or new radios... So why is the federal government purchasing these things?

    Of course, I'm also part of the problem. If the federal government is going to be handing out money... Why not take it? If my department doesn't go for it, someone else's department will.

  4. #4
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    "I agree, but..."

    Yes, he is absolutely correct. A lot of the things that federal grant money is funding benefits only the one little department that applied for it. Lots of the things being purchased are what many would concider "basic neccessities" that should be funded by the municipality being protected. Basic turnout gear, exercise equipment, and weather radios are classic examples.

    HOWEVER, there are two inherent flaws in this thinking, no matter how right it is.

    1. Municipalities just don't fund it. They either don't have the money at all, or the politicians are too stupid to figure it out and spend it on other usless things. Yea, they could raise taxes to fund it, but nobody wants to do that and it just isn't going to happen. If the federal money wasn't there, they still wouldn't get the money from the municipality so there is no alternative in *reality* (notice I am not defending this, I'm just saying it like it is).

    2. Not all departments are municipal! There are tons of small rural fire and ems departments that do not recieve a dime from the taxpayers. Their only funding is donations, bingo, or standing out in the middle of the road with a boot. A good year is when they top 5,000 in grand total funding. They have no other source of funding. Basic neccessities are simply out of reach and municipal funding is not going to happen either (see above).

    Now I concider my department very fortunate and well organized. The equipment is owned by the town and we have an annual municipal funding of $260,000. $80,000 per year of that goes into an apparats replacement slush fund that builds up over the years. When we need a new apparatus, the money is already there and it is planned out for then next 15 years. My own individual line items on the town budget (communications & EMS) are more than some of those departments total available funding for the year, maybe even two. And that is only for operational equipment. The firehouse building, property, and non-operational amenities are all privately owned and funded by us. The town simply "contracts" us to do their firefighting and use town equipment. So we have a seperate private "company budget" for non-operations expenses. That is also in excess of $50k, maybe $100k per year and it is all community donations. I think our bathroom renovation capital expenditure was more than some of those departments have in their entire yearly operaitonal budget.

    So, if they want to apply for grant money to get gear and fire trucks THEN MORE POWER TO THEM. The feds are offering the money. If they weren't offering it, nobody else would and we'd have nothing. So tough shizznit if you don't like it. Get over it.
    Last edited by nmfire; 10-05-2006 at 12:31 AM.
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  5. #5
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    I agree with the article.

    And nmfire, no offense, but generally speaking, it's not my responsibility or fault that the fire department you mention does not have the money they need. No reason to take my taxes and give to them. (and yes, i know, lots of our taxes go to very similar things - i don't have to agree with it)
    "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?

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
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    Yeah; I'd rather see tax money go for more important projects, like Illinois' lesbian museum.
    Government has lost sight of what is in the private interest and what is in the public interest.
    The great debate: should funding of fire departments be a local issue or a federal issue?
    There; I have left the door open.
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    Forum Member nyckftbl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefReason
    The great debate: should funding of fire departments be a local issue or a federal issue?
    There; I have left the door open.
    CR
    Yes and no. (Blew the door right off its hinges)
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  8. #8
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    As a taxpayer, I strongly feel that some federal monies be used to make entire nation better protected when it comes to Fire, Rescue and EMS service. I think there should be better accountablity and limits to what grant monies are used for. I am ready for the "fire service is a local issue" mantra to appear. But as we have seen, the "local fire service" has been deployed to places near and far as a result of natural and man-made disasters. Spend the money...But spend it wisely.
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    We often forget where the money comes from. Instead of taxing the individual and reallocating the money just lay off the taxes and leave it up to the individual to allocate his money. He will do a better job I am sure.

    Birken

  10. #10
    Forum Member nmfire's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42
    And nmfire, no offense, but generally speaking, it's not my responsibility or fault that the fire department you mention does not have the money they need. No reason to take my taxes and give to them. (and yes, i know, lots of our taxes go to very similar things - i don't have to agree with it)
    None taken. In fact, I think we both agree. All that stuff I said about funding is the current reality... not neccessarily what I think is right.
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    MembersZone Subscriber ameryfd's Avatar
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    I have my own feelings, which I'm sure I'll post later on who should pay.......However, turning back to the article that was posted......

    The writer did not do his homework very well.... The money for the Fire Department equipment came from the Assistance to Firefighters grant program, the Weather radios from a different program.

    Now, I understand that DHS is now the main agency that controls USFS and FEMA, but when that grant was originally put together, it was not part of DHS, so to compare the two expenditures is kinda like comparing apples and oranges...... they're both fruit, but they sure taste different.....

  12. #12
    Forum Member RyanEMVFD's Avatar
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    It's not as if most local governments will do any funding. They're looking for ways to cut stuff out of the budget and LEO/FD/EMS is usually one of the first things looked at.

    If the federal government will give loans to countries for little things, why not help fire departments. The way I see it, we're going to be paying taxes anyhow, might as well see the return of it in my area than paying for a water pump in a rice field in Korea.
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  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber firedawg312's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanEMVFD
    It's not as if most local governments will do any funding. They're looking for ways to cut stuff out of the budget and LEO/FD/EMS is usually one of the first things looked at.

    If the federal government will give loans to countries for little things, why not help fire departments. The way I see it, we're going to be paying taxes anyhow, might as well see the return of it in my area than paying for a water pump in a rice field in Korea.
    Amen. we spend billions of dollars "LENDING IT" to these third world countries who we know dam well will never be able to pay it back. id rather see the money go into emergencey services. there are numerous depts that need new bunker gear, trucks and equipment that can save their lives but cant afford to get it. instead we have to be politically correct and give all of this money to starving people in africa. im sorry but there are more people without the weapons then there are with.
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  14. #14
    MembersZone Subscriber mcaldwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefReason
    Yeah; I'd rather see tax money go for more important projects, like Illinois' lesbian museum.
    Government has lost sight of what is in the private interest and what is in the public interest.
    The great debate: should funding of fire departments be a local issue or a federal issue?
    There; I have left the door open.
    CR
    I'd be first in line to see the lesbian museum, but of course, only the "Lipstick" section. The "Ellen" section will have to wait.

    As for the other question...

    To me it all comes down to jurisdiction. If the departments are locally administered, regulated, and operated, than the responsibility rests completely with the local government having jurisdiction.

    Of course if the Department is Federal, or the federal government want to mandate standards that the local departments will be bound to uphold, than they must be expected to pay or at least share the bill.

    Government grants for the fire service don't exist in Canada (at least with any sort of regularity), so I always look in disbelief at what your federal grants seem to buy for you guys.

    And I sure can't blame the Chief's for taking advantage of what's there, because if they don't, somebody else will. But if it were my taxes, I would only want to pay for the extraordinary things that the local government didn't have the ability or responsibility to fund (and by ability I mean fiscal means, not political will).
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  15. #15
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanEMVFD
    It's not as if most local governments will do any funding. They're looking for ways to cut stuff out of the budget and LEO/FD/EMS is usually one of the first things looked at.

    If the federal government will give loans to countries for little things, why not help fire departments. The way I see it, we're going to be paying taxes anyhow, might as well see the return of it in my area than paying for a water pump in a rice field in Korea.

    And the more money the feds dump on these communities for things, the more money is cut by the municipalities.

    Local responsibility means local funding. You either get it or you don't. Don't go sucking at the tit of the federal government.

    I agree with the point that the feds fund crap the crap that they do. But when you continue to elect these people for 40 years to political office, what do you expect?

    Get rid of the career twits, and hold the politicians accountable.
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  16. #16
    MembersZone Subscriber firedawg312's Avatar
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    Default Please noone take offense to my last post

    ok it sounds to me like most of you come from departments where u get alot of funding from your local goverment. my station is considered a secondary station in my twnshp. we get 5000 out of 100000 alloted for my township. that dont get us . that covers repairs for the trucks and maybe one truck payment each year. my dept relies heavelie on grants. yes some federal to get us what we need. mainly a couple of new sets of bunkers cause some of the interior guys gear is starting to get raggedey. we have to fight to get these grants and according to the govt. other stations that have the funding avalible get them but they need them more(reason i know this is i have friends on some of these depts.) i dont agree with giving these grants straight to companies that dont really need them. i think they need to look at finances before giving out grants. im not sayoing that they cant use the money, im just saying theres other companies that can use it more.
    " IF GUNS KILL PEOPLE THEN I CAN BLAME MY MISSPELLINGS ON MY PENCIL" -Larry The Cable Guy-

  17. #17
    Forum Member RyanEMVFD's Avatar
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    My old department got $3,500 from the county which was the same for every other department in the county. That made the insurance payment and the stamp to put it in the mail each year.
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  18. #18
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    Personally, I look at it as if we get a tenth of what the gov't gives away to foreign countries every year, I'll take it and be happy.

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