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Author Topic: Firefighters watch as home burns to the ground  (Read 17155 times)
Corvus Calling - GirlRugger
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« Reply #15: October 05, 2010, 10:19:49 am »

Don't you? 

Who bought the fire trucks?  Who pays for their maintenance and repair?  Who pays for the water used to put out the fire?  Who built the fire stations and pays for their upkeep?  Who organized the volunteers and makes sure that they are where they need to be when they need to be there?

I don't (to my knowledge) pay a special fee either, but that doesn't mean I don't pay for it.  I think around here the fire departments do engage in some fundraising--but my understanding is that they are also funded through taxes.  (As, by the way, I'm sure your free health care and public education are.)  In order to have enough money from the taxes to support the department, you have to either have plenty of people living in the area the department is protecting who can all pay a little bit, or if you only have a few people then they have to be willing to pay higher taxes.  I've noticed that a lot of my fellow Americans don't seem to like paying higher taxes, even when those taxes will help provide things that they need (like fire protection).  That's the problem--too few people in one area to support the department on relatively low taxes.

That said...

...I can't argue with this part too much.


  Of course I pay taxes, and I am fully aware that some of those taxes go towards the upkeep and maintenance of hospitals, schools, fire houses, roads,
police etc. I don't however pay a special fee for the rural fire station at my disposal. I in fact pay the same amount of tax as my friends in densely populated areas, less if you count property tax as it is higher inside of city limits. Taxes are based on your income not on your location (again with the exception of property tax). The provincial Health/ Transportation  Minister would be given the money stated in his budget, and would then allocate the funds as needed. This means that my taxes may go towards paying for a new highway 400km away that I will never use, or that someone in side of a Major City would have their funds put towards my rural fire house. The funds are dispersed at the discretion of the Minister. Which means I do not pay more for my services than anyone else regardless of my location.


 I guess its just that the idea of not having access to a local fire department, is just a little hard for me to wrap my head around.  Smiley
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« Reply #16: October 05, 2010, 10:42:39 am »

I don't however pay a special fee for the rural fire station at my disposal.

My understanding, though, is that taxes collected from these people do not go to support any fire station.  That's why they have to pay a special fee--because they're not contributing to the upkeep of the fire station in any other way.

Quote
I in fact pay the same amount of tax as my friends in densely populated areas, less if you count property tax as it is higher inside of city limits. Taxes are based on your income not on your location (again with the exception of property tax).

I have to step back here, because I don't fully understand the American tax system and how funds are allocated.  I know we pay income tax to multiple governmental entities--State and Federal at the very least--and because of that income tax level might well vary depending on your location (i.e. it varies from state to state).  I don't know exactly how county and city governments fit into it.  I'm pretty certain, though, that it's the county (and maybe city) governments funding the fire department, so there is at least variation from state to state to be considered here--it's not coming out of the federal pool where all locations are on the same scale.

I also, however, don't know what gets funded out of property tax.  I think when I said that, I was working on the assumption that fire deparments (mostly concerned with protecting the property being taxed) would be funded out of the property tax, which could be different in the country than in the city.  I'll admit I don't actually know whether that's true, though; I was just going on someone else's mention of population density being a factor.

Quote
The provincial Health/ Transportation  Minister would be given the money stated in his budget, and would then allocate the funds as needed.

And in an ideal world that would be the end of it, but there's only so much money to go around.  There may not be funds for a fire station everywhere one is needed, especially in an area where the population isn't very dense (I'm especially thinking states like Montana where it's like, major city?  what major city?), or there may be funds but something else may be determined to be a higher priority.
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« Reply #17: October 05, 2010, 12:42:34 pm »


I think the difference between the situations is that every layer of government has thier own responsibilities, and everyone is very protective about keeping the power for those responsibilities.  Thus, funds from the state level can't and won't be used to fund local Fire and Police services.
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« Reply #18: October 05, 2010, 01:27:17 pm »

My understanding, though, is that taxes collected from these people do not go to support any fire station.  That's why they have to pay a special fee--because they're not contributing to the upkeep of the fire station in any other way.

I have to step back here, because I don't fully understand the American tax system and how funds are allocated.  I know we pay income tax to multiple governmental entities--State and Federal at the very least--and because of that income tax level might well vary depending on your location (i.e. it varies from state to state).  I don't know exactly how county and city governments fit into it.  I'm pretty certain, though, that it's the county (and maybe city) governments funding the fire department, so there is at least variation from state to state to be considered here--it's not coming out of the federal pool where all locations are on the same scale.

I also, however, don't know what gets funded out of property tax.  I think when I said that, I was working on the assumption that fire deparments (mostly concerned with protecting the property being taxed) would be funded out of the property tax, which could be different in the country than in the city.  I'll admit I don't actually know whether that's true, though; I was just going on someone else's mention of population density being a factor.

And in an ideal world that would be the end of it, but there's only so much money to go around.  There may not be funds for a fire station everywhere one is needed, especially in an area where the population isn't very dense (I'm especially thinking states like Montana where it's like, major city?  what major city?), or there may be funds but something else may be determined to be a higher priority.

The property tax bills I've seen (WA and CA) had an assessment for the fire dept on them.  that doesn't mean all areas do, and I think it is something voted on.
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« Reply #19: October 05, 2010, 01:30:00 pm »

I've noticed that a lot of my fellow Americans don't seem to like paying higher taxes, even when those taxes will help provide things that they need (like fire protection). 

I remember a case which happened in my neck of the woods about twenty years back. It was an unincorporated suburb just outside of town, with basic services such as water and sewer provided by what we call a "Municipal Utility (MUD) District" with the power to make assessments and collect taxes. Some joker didn't want to pay what the MUD district was assessing as a fee for garbage collection and found some ambiguous language in their charter, so he took them to court. And won. The judge said that the MUD district couldn't force residents to pay the garbage collection fee; they would have to do it voluntarily.

You can guess how well that worked. Only about ten percent of the residents paid the fee; the others left their garbage in front of their neighbors' houses. After about two weeks the private company which had the contract to collect the garbage canceled ALL service as they weren't being paid enough. For about a month there was no garbage collection at all; local supermarkets and businesses had to post guards around their Dumpsters. Where it ended up was with the local residents begging the City of Houston to annex them...which they eventually did. So now they pay (much higher) city taxes...but at least the garbage gets picked up.
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« Reply #20: October 05, 2010, 01:41:59 pm »

You can guess how well that worked. Only about ten percent of the residents paid the fee; the others left their garbage in front of their neighbors' houses. After about two weeks the private company which had the contract to collect the garbage canceled ALL service as they weren't being paid enough. For about a month there was no garbage collection at all; local supermarkets and businesses had to post guards around their Dumpsters. Where it ended up was with the local residents begging the City of Houston to annex them...which they eventually did. So now they pay (much higher) city taxes...but at least the garbage gets picked up.

I love this anecdote. It's like a giant finger to knee-jerk 'ARGH LEAVE ME ALONE MEAN BIG GUVMENT' types.
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« Reply #21: October 05, 2010, 02:05:57 pm »

Where it ended up was with the local residents begging the City of Houston to annex them...which they eventually did. So now they pay (much higher) city taxes...but at least the garbage gets picked up.
Oh man. Imagine that place in the summer when the heat and humidity really ramp up down there.
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« Reply #22: October 06, 2010, 09:36:48 pm »

Firefighters watch as home burns to the ground

OBION COUNTY, Tenn. - Imagine your home catches fire but the local fire department won't respond, then watches it burn. That's exactly what happened to a local family tonight.

http://www.wpsdlocal6.com/news/local/Firefighters-watch-as-home-burns-to-the-ground-104052668.html


I'm probably going to hold an unpopular opinion on this, but people who use the "I thought they'd still just come and put it out" lines really bug me. One large pet peeve of mine is people who have become complacent in life. They become accustomed to always having certain services and they either don't know what to do without them, or they couldn't care less about trying to figure out how to be pro-active in their lives.

These are the same people who believe that the government is going to always be there to rescue them when things go south. The ones who stay in their homes during hurricanes, the ones who stay during the floods, the ones on the roof on TV waving at the helicopters to come and get them. These are the people who empty store shelves and fight other people in the aisles for the last loaves of bread two hours before the big blizzard hits because they didn't heed the warnings 72 hours prior. These are the ones who dial 911 when the power outages hit during the ice storms, fully expecting to be rescued and taken care of.

My high school biology teacher used to tell us something every single day and it still holds true today. "Take care of the little things, and the big things will take care of themselves." $75 was the fee for the firefighters to be able to take care of the problem. The people in the story didn't pay theirs, but still fully expected to be taken care of for free. THAT bothers me. Sorry they lost their house, no one should ever have to go through that, but people do everyday, and the fact is that the money to do this stuff and maintain the little things so that the firefighters can take care of the big things has to come from somewhere. $75 isn't a lot, really. In the grand scheme of things. I think people are finally learning what it's like to have to go back to being PRO-ACTIVE to make sure things are taken care of. It's about time.....
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« Reply #23: October 06, 2010, 10:39:52 pm »

Firefighters watch as home burns to the ground

OBION COUNTY, Tenn. - Imagine your home catches fire but the local fire department won't respond, then watches it burn. That's exactly what happened to a local family tonight.

http://www.wpsdlocal6.com/news/local/Firefighters-watch-as-home-burns-to-the-ground-104052668.html

I honestly don't know who I'm pissed at, but it seems to depend on the time of day. Sometimes I'm pissed at the homeowner for expecting this service without paying that fee; and sometimes I'm pissed at the City/Fire Department for letting the guy's house burn down.
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« Reply #24: October 07, 2010, 06:39:12 am »


The biggest issue is that this sort of thing shouldn't be fee based at all.

There have been similar attempts with police to be fee based.  Had a guy who was the vicitim of an accident...Hit an run I believe.  Police came and he got charged a fee because the police came.
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« Reply #25: October 07, 2010, 06:59:28 am »

There have been similar attempts with police to be fee based.  Had a guy who was the vicitim of an accident...Hit an run I believe.  Police came and he got charged a fee because the police came.

Oh that can happen to you overhere too.
If the police gets called to an accident where things are clear (whatever that should mean) and none has been injured, you can get charged for calling them. OTOH I havent heard of a case where this happened in my surroundings. I think police is not too rigorous about it.

I honestly don't know who I'm pissed at, but it seems to depend on the time of day. Sometimes I'm pissed at the homeowner for expecting this service without paying that fee; and sometimes I'm pissed at the City/Fire Department for letting the guy's house burn down.

I think it is not so easy to judge anyway.

I mean, ok they were there, but a fire can always get out of hand. If they didnt put it out and other houses would caught fire, or a wood, fields whatever - I wonder could someone charge the fire dep for arson?

I still think, they should have extinguished the fire after the family signing a kind of contract that they will be charged for it. *shrugs* The lesson for all would be: pay the little fee or get a hell of a bill in case you need the service.
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« Reply #26: October 07, 2010, 07:05:59 am »

The biggest issue is that this sort of thing shouldn't be fee based at all.

There have been similar attempts with police to be fee based.  Had a guy who was the vicitim of an accident...Hit an run I believe.  Police came and he got charged a fee because the police came.

Thanks for keeping my property taxes at half the rate you are paying yet I get all the same services.

That or do you mean that the home owner should be forced to pay tens of thousands of dollars to install a sewage connection so that he's part of the city rather than the county?

Or that instead of a fee, he should have no fire coverage since the county can't afford to have a fire department?

Or that a police officer who normally works in Lynchburg, VA could use his police powers in New York City just because he happens to be in NYC?

It's jurisdiction issue.
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« Reply #27: October 07, 2010, 07:10:23 am »

The biggest issue is that this sort of thing shouldn't be fee based at all.

Probably true--but since it is, I have trouble understanding people who expect to recieve service despite not paying the fee.  There's a problem with the system, sure, but for now this is how it works and people shouldn't expect exceptions to be made just because they personally are in trouble.  Pay the fee and then, when you're sure you have fire coverage, start campaigning for change.
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« Reply #28: October 07, 2010, 07:24:42 am »

The biggest issue is that this sort of thing shouldn't be fee based at all.

The problem is, remember, that this guy doesn't live in the city. He doesn't pay city taxes. He has no right to demand or expect services from the city. The city made an offer to extend him fire protection for $75 a year...which is a downright bargain in my opinion; I expect that most homeowners in the city pay more than that per household in taxes designated for fire protection. This guy said thanks but no thanks; I'll wait until my house catches fire and then see if I can sign up at the last minute. If the city didn't stand firm on this, it would encourage everybody else to do exactly the same.

I have no sympathy whatsoever for this joker.
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« Reply #29: October 07, 2010, 08:08:46 am »

I have no sympathy whatsoever for this joker.

Mmmm. This may be harsher than necessary since we don't know all the facts. Specifically, we don't know why he didn't pay the fee - the article says he thought they'd come anyway, but not that that was his only reason for not paying. If he was hard up somehow, through no fault of his own, then we can't blame him for not paying and the decision to let his house burn's regrettable.

(Regrettable but I think still right in the message it sends to other people.)
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