Can we afford emergency rations in case of catastrophe? Barely, but we can afford to eat seafood and steak in these lean times.

 

First order of business is to express sincere appreciation and respect for the long standing practice by Commissioner Mark Freitas, Commissioner William Gates and Commissioner Mark Thompson for never, in the last two years that I have been getting the forms, demanding or accepting money for in-district mileage or local meals.

On many occasions, these elected officials have taken it one step further. Opting to put the public interests above their own, Commissioners Freitas, Gates and Thompson have repeatedly waived compensation for some meetings.

We are in a budget crisis and these three elected officials, as the saying goes, ‘get it’. Respecting the citizens of the district that put them in office should not go without notice.

Thank you Commissioners Freitas, Gates and Thompson.

 

 

Now for the subject at hand.

 

There is an Excess Levy on the ballot for August. This levy is in reaction to what the district has called a budget crisis. The fire department is asking you to raise your taxes so they can raise revenues to cover much needed staffing and equipment.

 

The fire department is always looking at sustainable measures to ensure they are fully prepared to respond to any emergency. Part of that preparedness is having enough nutrition to perform.

 

Similar to the Earthquake Preparedness Kit we should all have at home, the department makes plans to keep your firefighters at the ready.

 

Training, equipment and staffing continue to be paramount concerns as they serve our citizens.

 

As revenues fall and firefighters take repeat year pay freezes, the department must still remain at the ready no matter the conditions.

 

And in the current budget crisis, no expense is taken lightly. Well, almost none anyway.

 

Reductions

 

In one example, the district has found that by purchasing military style meals we get longer shelf life than our current practice of First-In-First-Out (FIFO) grocery store items and, even though the initial cost might be marginally higher, the shelf life saves money over the long term.

Granted, these are not as palatable as fresh foods, but do provide the required nutrition to keep our firefighters ready to respond.

 

In another post, I will discuss how the district is addressing the cost of fuel and use of emergency equipment.

 

I laud the department for being creative in their funding and making these changes.

 

Sacrifices need and have been made.

 

Who does not ‘get it’

 

Meanwhile, seemingly oblivious to the budget crisis, Commissioner John Rickert and Commissioner James Fossos continue to travel and feed well off the public dime. Making no sacrifice to their monthly stipend, these elected officials consistently demand and get paid for driving to and eating at Angelo’s fine restaurant in Bellevue, last month enjoying Seafood Connello and Spencer Steak.

 

And let’s not forget demanding to be paid mileage for going to several meetings each month at the local fire department.

 

Again, without apparent consideration of the budget or awareness of a crisis, the May compensation forms prove there are two in the department that have no further regard for your tax dollars than what they can get from your pocket into theirs.

 

Your taxes and this Excess Levy is still paying for Excess expenses.  

 

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