Wednesday, October 24, 2007
When it comes to wise investments, there is very little that is more important than adequately funding your local fire department.
More training, improved facilities, more modern and effective equipment -- these are some of the tangible benefits that result from better funding.
However, it's the intangibles that are really vital here: Firefighters and other emergency responders may save your life, or the life on one of your family members, and it's impossible to put a price tag on that. For that reason, it's vital to give our firefighters, who are primarily volunteers, every edge we realistically can when it comes to paying for equipment and training.
In this election cycle, voters in Fire District No. 3 -- which covers approximately 50 square miles in the Husum/BZ Corner/Snowden area -- are being asked to OK a relatively small property tax boost over the next six years. If approved, the measure would increase the levy rate for fire protection by 32 cents on each $1,000 of assessed value.
What would that tax boost buy? It would help the fire district replace some of its water tenders, which provides the water to fight fires in areas where there are no hydrants. Currently, the tender vehicles the district has are from the 1968-1978 era. It would also help replace the 1984 aid vehicle the department uses in Husum.
Jerry Jones, the fire chief for Fire District No. 3, pointed out that replacing the aging and increasingly unreliable vehicles is the department's top priority.
But there is more: The department's hydraulic "Jaws of Life" equipment -- which are used to free people caught in the twisted wreckage of motor vehicle accidents, for example -- would also be upgraded. Also, the roof of the Husum Fire Station needs to be replaced, and this levy would help fund that project.
In short, these are critical needs that will offer a direct safety benefit to local citizens.
This local ballot measure is inexpensive insurance for home owners and property owners within Fire District No. 3. We recommend a "Yes" vote on this measure.