Yesterday I decided to finally read the August 6th, 2014 issue of the Kokomo Perspective. I became very concerned about our city and it's goals after reading the article titled "Fire department mothballs rescue truck" on the first page.
The bullet points from the article:
- The rescue trucks are specially equipped to handle extreme auto accidents, such as flipped (inverted) cars.
- Our city has had 2 for about 50 years.
- Much of the equipment of 1 has been put on Fire Engines, which still doesn't make them capable of handling flipped cars.
- We are now down to only one fully capable rescue truck.
- This is due to overtime budget cuts. $277,500 was spent on overtime last year and this year it is budgeted to $180,000 (277,500-180,000=97,500).
The thing that disturbs me is that there are way more cars on the road than there ever has been but the capability to handle auto accidents have been reduced. I agree with the President of the Fire Fighters Local 396 when he said that a $180,000 price tag had been put on our safety.
The article raises the question of why we have to reduce the budget of the Fire Station when we apparently have plenty of money in the budget for a downtown parking garage and a new soft ball diamond which total in $17 million dollars. I agree that the $97,500 dollars to keep our fire department manned, at the level it was manned last year, is chump change by comparison.
How ever being a Navy Veteran I do understand program funding and funds allocation. Basically meaning that certain funds can only be used for certain things and are not allowed to be used for others. Unless you find some creative thinking/writing way to connect the 2. I just don't understand how our city could allocate funds for one and not the other.
I haven't researched it much yet but on what I know, think I know, or have an assumption of I do have a few opinions. The parking garage is a good thing. Parking downtown is crowded and many people avoid shopping there because of this. Sooo the parking garage could aid the economy of down town. Ease of parking may attract more people to shop the stores, bistros, and bars of downtown. Lord knows it needs it. The only shops that has seemed to survive are the food services (due to lawyer traffic and such) and those who have generational patrons like Sound of Music and Palmers who offer the experience of fond memories of shopping there with family as a kid. I will research the parking garage further. Chances are I am not going to argue the parking garage. The baseball diamond I think is a bit over board. We have baseball diamonds all over town. Why do we need another? The sad thing is that $11 million of that $17 is for the baseball diamond. That is a lot. Mostly to buy the properties that were sitting in that area being flooded all the time. The other chunk is probably for all the dirt they hauled in to build it up. Now why the heck are they building it up? All this is going to accomplish is creating another flood plane somewhere else! REALLY!? The only way I can see this being a benefit is if money was being taken out of the local government budget to pay out insurance and flood relief claims. Now they wouldn't have that cost. Unless of course they just caused it to flood elsewhere. Otherwise I think it's a colossal waste of money and we should have tried to figure out how to spend that $11million on the Fire Department. This requires more research to see why the funds were spent on the ball diamond instead. What funding was used and if there was any way of creative budgeting that would have put some into the fire department for the safety of the whole city.
I also have to wonder if they increased the budget for the highway department. Last winter was horrible. According to the Farmer's Almanac we can expect 4 more winters just like it if not worse. The fact that the trees out in the county started changing colors in July further reinforces this possibility. I sure hope they allocated the funds to handle all that snow and ice we are going to get. I mean the high for today is only 71 and this is supposed to be the hottest month of the year! Reality check! GET PREPARED!
Anyway that is all I have for now. I will keep you posted on anything that I find out.