Right now the voters in Italy and surrounding area will decide to approve or decline a property tax increase for our fire department. I would not ask a doctor to save my life without the proper equipment and I will not ask our fire personnel to do that either.
The fire district has not had a tax rate increase for over 28 years even though diesel, equipment, bunker gear and supplies have increased drastically and the number of calls they answer has increased as well. Last year’s fuel bill was over $5,000.
I appreciate what our fire department and first responders do for all of us on a daily basis and feel they deserve the best equipment we can furnish them with.
I have heard several people say that they are voting against because they pay enough taxes as it is. I know times are tough but we cannot afford to vote against our fire department. The volunteers give of their time to help protect our lives and property. Some of the bunker gear that they are using is at least 10 years old. To purchase one set of bunker gear with helmet, coat, pants and boots will cost $3,000. To replace an air pack that we have that is 10 years old will cost $5,000 each.
I would not want anyone in my family to go into a burning structure with equipment that is 10 years old. I don’t want any of our firefighters to do so either. They take care of us – we should take care of them.
I have also heard someone say that they won’t vote for any raise in taxes for the City. This tax increase does not go to the City of Italy. It goes directly to our fire department for their use only. On a house valued at $100,000 the increase would raise the tax by only $30 per year.
Our fire department is averaging one call per day. Without the increase, they will have to work within the monies they are allotted now no matter how much diesel increases. I hope that does not happen because when the money runs out, the runs would have to stop. They cannot spend money that is not there. I don’t think we can put a price on human life.
We are fortunate here to have the fire personnel we have. Over half of the 18 fire fighters we have are full time firemen for other departments. Their training and knowledge has proven invaluable in the calls they answer and the lives and property they have saved.
I will vote for the fire protection because I feel it is the right thing to do. I hope everyone that reads this will do the same thing. Please vote “FOR”!