Your Opinion: No hidden agenda in fire department tax

Dear Editor:

The Fire Department Improvement Plan (FDIP) was conceived over 10 years ago by the firefighters in the fire stations to address the resource needs of the Jefferson City Fire Department.

No mayor, city administrator or City Council members had any involvement in writing the improvement plan. This plan and supporting sales tax is solely about the fire department and its resource needs. It has no connection to Transformation or any other city projects. There is absolutely no “bait and switch” here.

The fire department receives 11 percent of the capital improvement sales tax, $590,000 per year, and these funds are used for capital purchases. However, this amount is not sufficient to meet the department’s resource needs. The cost of a pumper truck is $400,000-$500,000, a ladder truck costs $800,000-$900,000, and a new fire station will cost $2,500,000-$3,000,000. The list goes on and on. These needs, and many more, must be addressed for us to be an efficient and effective fire department in the 21st century. This is the reason the fire department improvement plan is being submitted to the voters.

Proposition 2 reads: “Shall the City of Jefferson reduce the property tax level for the Fireman’s Pension, currently $0.0961 (approximately 17 percent of the city’s total property tax) to $0.00 and in lieu thereof impose a sales tax of one-fourth (1/4) of one percent for the purpose of providing revenues and improvements for the operation of the Jefferson City Fire Department, for a period of January 1, 2013 to December 31, 2027.”

We in the fire department believe this is a pure and simple plan with no hidden agenda or ties to any unrelated projects.

The voters have spoken on Transformation and it was soundly defeated. Many voters, however, believe that transformation will be hidden in other forms to subvert that vote. The members of the fire department will not allow our improvement plan to become Transformation in disguise. We ask that citizens vote their conscience to support and improve the fire department and not their fears about a hidden Transformation agenda. If we partner together as concerned citizens, we can improve the safety of our city, respect the previous vote on Transformation, and hold accountable those who would attempt to do otherwise.

For more information concerning the Fire Department Improvement Plan, please go to www.jcfirefighters.com

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