Friday, February 13, 2015
My solution since the whole mess started is to create a Newfield Fire District thru referendum
A fire district would need to be created through a referendum. I tried to get this started before at the Town Hall meeting held at the Elks but no one paid any attention then and probably won't now but sometimes if you keep putting an idea out there you can get it adopted.
A Newfield Fire District would operate in a manner similar to the Board of Education, as it would contain a board of elected fire commissioners, none of whom could be serving on Borough Council or the Board of Education at the same time. It would be independent of the Borough Council and of any fire company. It would have a separate budget funded by its own tax revenues as is the Board of Education. Just like the taxes raised to support the education of kids in town, there would still be only one tax bill as the same mechanism that collects the Board of Education taxes would bundle in the Fire District taxes.
One big advantage to the taxpayer is the total transparency of what it costs to have fire control in Newfield. One big disadvantage is that taxes would go up as the fire district board would have to deal with the problem of the age of the fire trucks and other equipment. It would still be to the taxpayers advantage to contract with a volunteer fire company as that would eliminate salaries, but we, the taxpayers, would know how much is being saved.
Maintenance labor on the fire control/emergency equipment could still be contracted out to the volunteer fire company with taxes covering supplies and replacement equipment. That was/is the current situation but no one has any idea how many hours the fire company volunteers put in to repair and keep the trucks in working order.
It would be to the volunteer fire company's advantage to report how many hours were spent in training, responding to emergencies like a fire, and equipment maintenance and, I assume, they would put that into any proposal they made to the Fire District Board to have them chosen as the first responding fire company.
Another advantage to the concept of a Fire District Board is that it would be responsible for obtaining grants that improve fire control/emergency response. This is an onerous task at any time and one the volunteer fire company may be happy to be rid of. Kudos you get for successfully obtaining a grant far out weigh the effort necessary to make it happen.
Any one interested?