Thursday, September 30, 2004

DFD Begins Charging for Services

From Ohio News Network:
When firefighters show up at a traffic accident to pry victims out of wreckage, clean up spilled fuel or perform other services, they will send a bill - $550 to be exact.

An increasing number of towns are charging for fire department services as they look for new revenue sources.

"Like a lot of urban areas right now, we're struggling financially," Dayton Fire Chief Larry Collins said. "And it's very difficult to raise taxes at this time given our tax rate."

Susan Smith, who drives to her job at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, called the fee outrageous.

"I think I'll keep a mop in my car and mop up my own spill," said Smith, 39, of suburban Miami Township. "It's going to cause a lot of people to be upset."

Smith said she will be less likely to vote for a tax increase to fund the fire service now that this fee is being imposed.
I discussed this issue breifly with Montgomery County Commission candidate Peggy Lehner on episode 15 of the "Weapons of Mass Discussion" television show. It doesn't sound like the county will be able to pitch in and solve this problem, so it is up to the Mayor and the city to get it done.

My reasearch team has learned that there are only five ambulances for the entire city of Dayton. It is unclear if that number was a reference to the number of actual vehicles or the number of crews available to man the vehicles. Either way, city management and the mayor have a serious problem on their hands.

What has caused this critical shortage of funds? And more importantly, what is the mayor going to do about it? Will she cut some of her beloved social programs in favor of fulfilling the city government's responsibility to provide for the safety of its citizens?

Enquiring minds want to know...


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