I must be missing something in the Town Crier article (see the Dec. 6 issue) about the IFPD’s opposition to the State Fire Prevention Fee. That opposition apparently revolves around three points:
1. The IFPD is tired of explaining the fee to its complaining constituents;
2. If we are ultimately not required to pay the state fee, we might be more likely to favor an increase in local fees (which I do) in the future; and
3. The need for more clarity regarding “jurisdiction” in light of CAL FIRE’s decision to add engines to its Hill coverage.
None of the above seem to be justifiable grounds for opposition to a fee which might result in greater fire protection for our community.
Moreover, with all the publicity over the last year regarding the state fee, and all the material accompanying the bill received in the mail, maybe the last folks IFPD should be trying to please are the ones who still think the fee goes to our fire department.
The complainers were probably not here in 1996 when the entire community was evacuated for the Bee Canyon Fire. When we returned in early July, there was a parade of the engines and crews that helped save our town.
The vast majority of these resources came from somewhere else. Did our annual fee to the local fire district pay for all this? Everyone should know the answer to that one.
Next time we see smoke to the west (or any other direction), I doubt that among anyone’s first thoughts will be, “Gee, I’m glad I refused to pay that $115.”
More likely we will be thinking, “Are the helicopters in the air? Are the air tankers ordered? Will the state and federal governments devote sufficient resources to stop this fire?” Who should help pay for all that if not those most directly threatened?
The Hill communities should be the very last communities to object to paying more for fire protection.
Moreover, our local fire department should be the last Hill entity to lead that opposition, particularly with no greater justification than that set forth in the Town Crier.
Perhaps greater clarity could be achieved with the publication of the IFPD’s resolution and “a stern cover letter to local state elected officials.”
Those of us who support higher fire protection fees might then be more able to understand the district’s odd, and potentially harmful, position.
J. Kent Steele