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Fire district spending excessive | LETTER TO THE EDITOR
To the editor:
Our local Fire District 3 does a great job around here, but their budget looks like something from the Donald Trump playbook. I’d been expecting a downward modification to their levy rate ($.51/$1,000) based on a very aggressive and recent building spree, but instead came news of a planned 49 percent increase and a slew of expenses to promote it. These include a marketing specialist at $44k for branding and news releases and a new web page. Next came another $25k for a name change.
That remarkable building spree includes:
$349k in 2008 for the new Saratoga Road station and land;
$1 million in 2009, for the new 8,000 sq. ft. Freeland station;
$1.5 million in 2008 for the new 5,000 sq. ft. Langley station;
The Thompson Road land acquisition in ’99 (later sold); and
A station remodel in Clinton.
On the docket is the Taj Mahal, a $4 million to $6 million planned training facility and 5,400 square foot corporate office on land acquired near Bayview. These aggressive capital expenditures are on top of a steady flow of new equipment and trucks.
My congratulations to the fire district for the wonderful service and volunteer effort they contribute in these parts, but their capital facilities expansions are excessive and point to bloated revenue. Do these capital expenses really need to be 25 percent of their tax revenue (their current goal)? Do we need to hire a media spinner for newsletters and a Facebook page? Why does a name change cost $25k?
Absent Mr. Trump, I feel these resources would be better directed toward other under-funded community efforts, which we read about on these pages.