FIRE: Consider consolidation

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Wednesday’s editorial entitled “Fire officials must answer burning questions” provided two questions to be answered; are fire officials asking too much and is a super majority really needed for approval? The article further listed average cost per call for various jurisdictions which are fairly consistent although Kootenai County Fire & Rescue was somewhat higher than the others.

We all know that the number and intensity of fires is increasing. We rely on fire rescue for medical emergencies. If my home is burning or a loved one is injured, I am not thinking about the costs. I simply want and need these services. The costs and time involved are increasing as is the equipment to help.

There should be another question. Is there a better, more equitable way to fund these necessary services? Levies are expensive to place on a ballot and truthfully frustrating to the average person?

Rather than each municipality or fire district seeking its own levy, would a levy countywide be better? This places the cost burden to be divided among 150,000-plus people. This would require an agreement, memorandum understanding or possibly some consolidation. The greater the size of the pie, the less the cost should be to each taxpayer.

A defined method of distributing the money equitably would need to be created. No jurisdiction willingly gives up power. The ability to raise the funds needed, knowing that each jurisdiction receives its fair share without the burden of trying to pass levies, seems like a reasonable, common sense alternative.

PHIL WARD

Coeur d’Alene

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