Thursday, May 05, 2016

UPDATE: May 3rd South Fire Budget Referendum: VOTE NO

Image from Right.is
UPDATE:  Yesterday's Middletown Press reports that the budget referendum passed with a 456 to 317 vote.  A total of 773 votes were cast.

Assuming that the South Fire District holds 1/3 of the city's population, approx. 15,000 people, and assuming that 2/3 or 10,000, of those are eligible to register to vote, it seems pretty pathetic that less than 800 voters determined what the budget and tax rate will be.

To my fellow south-siders:  Get informed, register to vote and participate.  Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
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Original post:

Nearly 800 residents turned out at the polls Tuesday at the South District Fire station to pass the $5.18 million 2016-17 finance plan by 139 votes.
The final tally placed 456 voters in favor of the proposal and 317 in opposition.

While Robert J. Ross, Chief of the South Fire District, gives a well written and compelling argument for passing Tuesday's budget referendum, it falls short or telling the whole story.

It does not tell us what last year's budget was and what the increase in the budget is for this year. It also fails to take into consideration the fact that "tax revenue being lost is being made up by special state aid", and that that money came out of the pockets of tax payers, in the first place.

It also includes funding for two additional firemen, saying they will still be short staffed, but staffing is covered by a "plan, developed several years ago, (which) directs Central Dispatch to send specific trucks from all three Middletown fire departments" to structure fires, while assuring "that trucks and manpower are still available in the city for additional emergency calls". 

It seems to me that, while maybe not ideal in the eyes of the fire commissioners, we are adequately covered under the current situation.  I say, "vote no" on Tuesday.

Maybe it is time to eliminate separate fire districts and operate all fire departments under one city wide umbrella.

Side bar:  The city's proposed $152.3 million budget for the "2016-17 fiscal year — a $4 million increase over the prior year’s", is close to $30,000,000 more than the last budget under Seb Guliano, representing an approx. 20% increase in just four years. This is irresponsible, but YOU, the collective voter, voted for it, as well as for 4 yr terms for city officials.

Has YOUR income increased 20% in the last four years?

Be careful what you ask for, as you just may get it.

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