ENC 1101 English Composition
05, November 2012
The Burning Truth
Is having the fire department respond to a fire “a right”, a service provided by a city or county without regard of how the costs are paid, or by whom? For most communities, the costs of firefighting services are included in the city or county’s tax structure and, therefore, provided to the residents at no additional cost. Most are included in property taxes and are paid by the property owner; for renters, the property tax is included in the rent. This is assessed based on the value of the property and at a rate determined by local government to meet its financial needs.
One of the most relevant aspects is the constant drive to increase a wide assortment of community services and this includes firefighting. Fighting fires requires the best trucks and equipment, it requires a properly paid and trained team of firefighters, and also it requires insurance on the equipment and the people. All of these aspects include ever-increasing costs and these costs must be paid somehow.
Various communities have tried several ways of managing the expenses. Bruce Watson, stated in an article that was published in Daily Finance describes the subscription system that charges $50-$75 per household and the “pay as you go” system where the person whose property was burned was expected to pay $500 after the fire was out. Watson also stated that the plan was unsuccessful; having collected less than 50% of the fees for the services that had already been provided.
Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire stated that, “It would cost $554,000 per year to protect the entire county. It is a service that Obion County cannot currently afford.” Obion County has imposed a “voluntary” subscription of $75 a year for fire protection services. If the subscription is not renewed, it will be assumed the property owner no longer desires to participate in the program.
In his article, “The Burning Question”,...