Story & Photos by Joseph Boyle
With over 20 years in law enforcement, I have seen first hand what our local fire department does for our community 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Their performance is always exceptional.
Think about it. If you are suffering a serious health problem, are the victim of a car crash or your house is on fire, don’t you want our fire department rushing to your aid to be able to provide you with the best possible service?
I know I do. Several years ago, while dealing with a DUI driver, I fell 15’ from the drunk driver’s pick-up as it rested on the tow truck ramp. I landed on my head in the eastbound lane of travel.
Thank you, West Pierce Fire & Rescue for helping me survive.
I have been with our fire department at suicide calls, house fires, car fires, gunshot wounds, knife wounds, suicide attempts, mental illness calls, medical emergencies for infant children and death investigations.
West Pierce Fire & Rescue has done an impressive job each and every time.
FIRE DEPARTMENT REVENUES SLASHED
Everyone knows the economy is down, which means real estate values are depressed. Because of this, our fire department is suffering from the unintended consequences of collecting less property tax revenue than they did in 2008. As we move towards 2012, we cannot afford to let this happen.
NO NEW TAX
The tax revenue our fire department is asking for is not a new tax. They are not asking for more staff, new programs or new equipment.
The tax we are being asked to vote for simply replaces the tax we already agreed to in the past. The previous tax levy is about to expire.
DOLLARS AND CENTS
It is easy to give a knee jerk reaction of, “No new taxes.”
This proposal is not a new tax. I urge all good citizens to make an informed choice about this matter rather than from a knee jerk frame of reference.
My analytical style finds it helpful to boil a tax down to a meaningful dollar amount.
To give you an idea, let’s say your home is worth $100,000. This fire levy measure would amount to about $109.00 a year or approximately $9.08 per month. If your home is worth more or less, you can do your own math.
Our fire department suffered a $1,162,582.00 cash flow reduction in 2011 compared to 2009. If the levy does not pass, our fire department revenue will decline by about $8,700,000.00 more.
It scares me to think about calling 911 only to discover, there is nobody there. Maybe this is a Joe Boyle melodramatic exaggeration, but I am trying to get my dear readers to see the big picture on this vote.
For more facts and details, please check out the press release found in the Suburban Times on July 5, 2011.
It is amazing to discover that all personnel who work for our fire department, including exempt administrative staff, volunteered for a variety of significant pay and benefit reductions. Many have worked overtime shifts with no pay. These employee dollars were dollars we already agreed to pay them.
Why would our fire department employees do that? I learned that they appreciate the public’s long history financial support.
They took pay cuts to support the public that supports them. They endorse the idea that our citizens need and deserve the very best service our fire department can provide.
Let’s not neglect our communities’ fire department.
If we take care of West Pierce Fire & Rescue, West Pierce Fire and Rescue will take care of us.
Vote early and vote often.