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Automatic aid agreements-Perpetuating the Bureaucracy

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  • #61
    Originally posted by Bigjohn24 View Post
    Too_Old

    Less so with combining two or three departments maybe, but you think going from three fire administrations down to one wouldn't save money? I think it would.

    And in Tri Cities WA their auto aid fire agreement is between 8-9 fire agencies with 8-9 fire administrations. I know they could sabe fire admin money going from 8-9 fire admins down to one.
    Without a detailed study of what it would require, I don?t think that?s a given.
    Many of those smaller WA fire districts run a lean administration. There is a chief and a secretary. Budgeting and payment of vouchers is done by the board of fire commissioners, and they don?t get all that much for their monthly meetings.
    So you combine 9 departments/districts into one regional fire authority. You still need a station captain at each station. Then due to span of control and geographic issues, you are going to need two battalion chiefs on duty. On the admin side, rather than that work being done by a chief and the commissioners, you will end up with a multi level buerocracy to create and process their own paperwork. Next thing you are hiring an assistant director of diversity inclusion......

    Also, regional ?authorities? that have the ability to levy taxes and fees are not very accountable to the voter. If a local fireboard goes a bit nuts on the expenses, locals will show up at the meeetings and make noise. Regional entities are good at removing themselves from accountability.

    I think fire admins push fire auto aid over joining forces totally, just to save their jobs.
    Again, you are barking up the wrong tree. Your issue is that you want a regional department, not that there is something wrong with automatic mutual aid.

    AMA is all we do. Our run-cards are created by a GIS based on road miles, not via back-room deals and personal animosities. A fire in some corners of the county may draw a response from three different counties and a military base. Everyone works off a fairly standardized set of SOGs and we all have p25 radios that talk to each other. No citizen has ever complained that the third due engine at his house fire was paid for by the taxpayers of the neighboring county. It?s a give and take. Sure, through quirks of geography and historic station locations, some departments give more MA than they receive, but all that can be dealt with via compacts and MOUs.

    Comment


    • #62
      The thing wrong with auto aid is that it only merges firefighters into one response and not the fire admins. Too many Chiefs, not enough Indians.

      And also taxpayers in auto aid deals never seem to pay the same in tax dollars for the all for one auto aid fire response. Making one or more taxpayer groups subsidize another. You think it's fair for different taxpayer groups to pay different taxes for the same all for one auto aid response.

      The deal was done back room style way before dispatch and run cards got involved. You think your taxpayers even know about run cards, GIS so forth and so on. Keep it real.
      Last edited by Bigjohn24; 09-07-2018, 12:08 AM.

      Comment


      • #63
        Originally posted by Bigjohn24 View Post
        The thing wrong with auto aid is that it only merges firefighters into one response and not the fire admins. Too many Chiefs, not enough Indians.
        Of course it merges the leadership as well. In those small departments, the ?chief? also functions as company officer. So you may end up with a couple of chief level officers at incident scene. As long as everyone falls in line, that?s not really a problem.

        And also taxpayers in auto aid deals never seem to pay the same in tax dollars for the all for one auto aid fire response. Making one or more taxpayer groups subsidize another. You think it's fair for different taxpayer groups to pay different taxes for the same all for one auto aid response.
        You seem to be the only one who cares about that. I don?t even know how our neighboring counties pay for their fire protection, neither do I care. They may use general fund money, a property levy or a service fee. Makes no difference to me. Their helmet has a number on it and the engine comes with water and three guys who know how to spray it, that?s all I care about at a scene.

        The deal was done back room style way before dispatch and run cards got involved. You think your taxpayers even know about run cards, GIS so forth and so on. Keep it real.
        Why would they care ? When they call 911 they want an ambulance or a fire truck to pull into their driveway. Whether that truck is red, yellow or lime green and whether the FFs wear the neighboring towns or military base patch on their turnouts makes no difference to them.

        Comment


        • #64
          Originally posted by Bigjohn24 View Post

          You don't think all taxpayers should all pay the same for an auto aid all for one fire response? That's not fair to taxpayers or lets some taxpayers get by on the cheap. That's not good. Is it?

          If you merged, annexed or created a new fire district then all taxpayers would pay the same for the same fire service. Seems fair to me.

          And if you have asked the question why give me so much crap for discussing it here?
          Okay this post is proof that you are just an obtuse argumentative azz. I explained VERY clearly how multiple communities that created a consolidated fire department, that I am VERY familiar with, do NOT pay equally for the fire service based on assessed evaluation of their community. Yet you seem to be either ignoring it or just too stupid to understand it. So NO the taxpayers of the different communities do NOT pay the same for fire protection under consolidation.

          You aren't discussing anything. You are pontificating and refusing to acknowledge any other point of view or information that disagrees with yours.
          Crazy, but that's how it goes
          Millions of people living as foes
          Maybe it's not too late
          To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

          Comment


          • #65
            Originally posted by FyredUp View Post

            Okay this post is proof that you are just an obtuse argumentative azz. I explained VERY clearly how multiple communities that created a consolidated fire department, that I am VERY familiar with, do NOT pay equally for the fire service based on assessed evaluation of their community. Yet you seem to be either ignoring it or just too stupid to understand it. So NO the taxpayers of the different communities do NOT pay the same for fire protection under consolidation.

            You aren't discussing anything. You are pontificating and refusing to acknowledge any other point of view or information that disagrees with yours.
            One could almost think he is a politician. Just repeat your incorrect 'fact' over and over until 50.5% of the participants in the next election believe it to be true.

            Unless you finance your fire protection through a uniform utility fee, different property owners are going to pay different amounts for it. Whether you are in a single fire district or a regional fire authority.

            California is a good example of consolidation gone awry. Every year you can follow the squabbles when regional fire authorities squash local fire districts and city fire departments in their insatiable quest to increase their tax base and justify their administrator salaries. 140k/year for an operational chief officer is going to look quaint compared with the numbers at play there.

            Comment


            • #66
              I have never seen folks so afraid to discuss the pitfalls of auto aid compared to lawful mergers, annexations, creating new fire districts or even regional fire authorities. All requiring voter approval.

              Auto aid deals do not require a vote of the people.and have all the different taxpayer groups paying different amounts of tax dollars for the same all for one fire service. Doesn't sound fair to me. How about you?

              Auto aid deals also only merge the fire response, but not the fire admins. The voter approved ways of joining fire rescue services also merges fire administrations. And many fire admins are costly. Why have redundant Fire Admins?

              I'm just a retired firefighter that gives a crap. Obviously the naysayers here are the bureaucracy I speak of and they want all the Fire Bureaucracy they can get. Have fun with that. I give a crap about fairness to Taxpayers. And if merging firefighters in different fire agencies is done, then merging their fire admins should be done too. .

              One could think you're an idiot Tooold and fyredup too. Speculate on what you don't know much tooold? That's a fool's play.

              Have fun Ladies.
              Last edited by Bigjohn24; 09-07-2018, 10:12 AM.

              Comment


              • #67
                Originally posted by FyredUp View Post

                Okay this post is proof that you are just an obtuse argumentative azz. I explained VERY clearly how multiple communities that created a consolidated fire department, that I am VERY familiar with, do NOT pay equally for the fire service based on assessed evaluation of their community. Yet you seem to be either ignoring it or just too stupid to understand it. So NO the taxpayers of the different communities do NOT pay the same for fire protection under consolidation.

                You aren't discussing anything. You are pontificating and refusing to acknowledge any other point of view or information that disagrees with yours.
                No you haven't but please do explain.

                How did these communities consolidate? Was there a vote of the people creating one new fire agency? If there was a new all for one fire department created, all the taxpayers should pay the same taxes for their new consolidated fire district or department.. In Washington State all taxpayers of a lawfully consolidated fire rescue service, that was voter approved, would all pay the same money per $1000 assessed value to support the newly consolidated fire department.

                You are the idiot and argumentative azz Chief. Obviously.

                Comment


                • #68
                  Originally posted by Too_Old View Post

                  One could almost think he is a politician. Just repeat your incorrect 'fact' over and over until 50.5% of the participants in the next election believe it to be true.

                  Unless you finance your fire protection through a uniform utility fee, different property owners are going to pay different amounts for it. Whether you are in a single fire district or a regional fire authority.

                  California is a good example of consolidation gone awry. Every year you can follow the squabbles when regional fire authorities squash local fire districts and city fire departments in their insatiable quest to increase their tax base and justify their administrator salaries. 140k/year for an operational chief officer is going to look quaint compared with the numbers at play there.
                  Are you that stupid really? All taxpayers should pay the same money per $1000 assessed value. The owner of a $500 K home pays 5 times as much as the owner of a $100 K home and a $5 million business pays ten times more in taxes than the owner of a $500 K Home.

                  And I have never seen an auto aid agreement adjust the money per $1000 assessed value tax rates of all taxpayers involved in the all for one fire response auto aid deal. Unlike the other lawful ways of consolidating fire services that are voter approved and have all taxpayers involved paying the same money per $1000 assessed Value for the same fire service..

                  Utility fee required to have all taxpayers pay the same. Get real.
                  Last edited by Bigjohn24; 09-07-2018, 10:37 AM.

                  Comment


                  • #69
                    Originally posted by Bigjohn24 View Post

                    No you haven't but please do explain.

                    How did these communities consolidate? Was there a vote of the people creating one new fire agency? If there was a new all for one fire department created, all the taxpayers should pay the same taxes for their new consolidated fire district or department.. In Washington State all taxpayers of a lawfully consolidated fire rescue service, that was voter approved, would all pay the same money per $1000 assessed value to support the newly consolidated fire department.

                    You are the idiot and argumentative azz Chief. Obviously.
                    The "same money per $1000 assessed value"? How is that fair? The guy with the $200,000 property would pay half of what the guy with the $400,000 property pays. How is that "the same"? Is one of them getting twice as much service? There is very little equality or fairness in taxing in this country. State or federal income tax and property taxes based on assessed value are not inherently fair. A flat fee would be fair but don't hold your breath.

                    Your point here about merging and consolidating likely applies in many, many areas of this country. I know it applies where I live. But it's 100% volunteer so the financial pain is not as bad as it could be. And you also make a fair point that a department that can't handle a house fire without help from another department has failed in it's mission. Time is the enemy here. Help that does not arrive within the appropriate window is not really helpful. Reinforcements must arrive before the battle has already been lost. We have guys here talking about help coming from the next county over. How much impact will they really have?
                    The clear answer would be larger fire departments for all. This is what we should have, at least from a purely firefighting perspective. But it will not satisfy your quest to save money or lower taxes. It would do just the opposite in fact. And in a big way. The public/taxpayer will not support it. They will be told and have been told "don't worry, we have aid". Which is exactly what they really want to hear because it relieves them of digging into their pockets.

                    I believe that merging three well run departments would not save a ton of money. Supervision, leadership, training and support would all still be required. More units with more firefighters requires more of all of those things. And large departments covering large areas need intermediate levels of command. You need command staff, unit supervision, apparatus and firefighters to handle multiple events simultaneously. Large areas of coverage make simultaneous events more likely.

                    Aside from the response time aspect, one could make the argument that the current aid system is more efficient than merging would be. From a financial standpoint there is little doubt. Because we are basically gambling that we will be OK.

                    Comment


                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Bigjohn24 View Post

                      No you haven't but please do explain.

                      How did these communities consolidate? Was there a vote of the people creating one new fire agency? If there was a new all for one fire department created, all the taxpayers should pay the same taxes for their new consolidated fire district or department.. In Washington State all taxpayers of a lawfully consolidated fire rescue service, that was voter approved, would all pay the same money per $1000 assessed value to support the newly consolidated fire department.

                      You are the idiot and argumentative azz Chief. Obviously.
                      Each community will assess property differently. Even if you have a uniform fee for a fire district it is generally based on the 5 of the assessment. If the assessment in each community is different, hence the amount that folks will pay will be different.

                      For example in this area, property is assessed at a much higher value in Bossier City as it is in Bossier Parish. If we had a Parish wide fire department, the folks in the city would pay more in fire taxes than the folks in the parish for the exact same property, because the assessment, on which the fire taxes are based, is higher.

                      It's not that complicated.
                      Last edited by LaFireEducator; 09-07-2018, 10:45 AM.
                      Train to fight the fires you fight.

                      Comment


                      • #71
                        Originally posted by Bigjohn24 View Post
                        Are you that stupid really? All taxpayers should pay the same money per $1000 assessed value. The owner of a $500 K home pays 5 times as much as the owner of a $100 K home and a $5 million business pays ten times more in taxes than the owner of a $500 K Home.
                        Wow, how to make friends and influence people 101 I guess. If someone doesn't buy the argument you are putting forward, just call them stupid :thumbsup: .

                        You are telling me right there that they are paying widely different amounts. There is nothing fair about assessing the cost for a fire service based on the value of the property. A single family dwelling on a waterfront lot that is assessed at $900,000 represents exactly the same fire risk as one that is two rows back on a rural lot and is assessed at $250,000. How is it fair that the waterfront lot owner pays three times the amount in fire tax ? So why is there a problem with folks living in different fire districts paying different mill rates ?

                        And I have never seen an auto aid agreement adjust the money per $1000 assessed value tax rats of all taxpayers involved in the all for one fire response auto aid deal.
                        Why should they ? It costs the same to buy and staff a piece of apparatus regardless of the jurisdiction you are in. In our local formula for all in-county automatic aid, there is a small payment that all the responding companies get for the operating expense of each piece they bring. The unit itself is already paid for with tax money, so that payment is pretty minimal, somewhere around $85 for an engine.

                        Unlike the other lawful ways of consolidating fire services that are voter approved and have all taxpayers involved paying the same money per $1000 assessed Value.
                        Right, you mentioned that. What you have failed to provide is any proof that in those circumstances a unified fire district or regional fire authority is a better deal for the taxpayers. Maybe everyone pays the same, but I wouldn't be all that thrilled if that 'same' means me paying $2.50 vs. paying 80 cents before.

                        Utility fee required to have all taxpayers pay the same. Get real.
                        A utility fee based on the assessed square footage of the protected property is probably the fairest way to assess the cost of fire protection. Give a discount for sprinklered properties and for properties, for type I construction and for properties that are in a ISO10 territory more than 5 miles from the station. That way those who get the protection (and reduced insurance rates) from the presence of a higher rated fire service are the ones bearing the cost of that fire service.



                        Comment


                        • #72
                          Originally posted by captnjak View Post

                          The "same money per $1000 assessed value"? How is that fair? The guy with the $200,000 property would pay half of what the guy with the $400,000 property pays. How is that "the same"? Is one of them getting twice as much service? There is very little equality or fairness in taxing in this country. State or federal income tax and property taxes based on assessed value are not inherently fair. A flat fee would be fair but don't hold your breath.

                          Your point here about merging and consolidating likely applies in many, many areas of this country. I know it applies where I live. But it's 100% volunteer so the financial pain is not as bad as it could be. And you also make a fair point that a department that can't handle a house fire without help from another department has failed in it's mission. Time is the enemy here. Help that does not arrive within the appropriate window is not really helpful. Reinforcements must arrive before the battle has already been lost. We have guys here talking about help coming from the next county over. How much impact will they really have?
                          The clear answer would be larger fire departments for all. This is what we should have, at least from a purely firefighting perspective. But it will not satisfy your quest to save money or lower taxes. It would do just the opposite in fact. And in a big way. The public/taxpayer will not support it. They will be told and have been told "don't worry, we have aid". Which is exactly what they really want to hear because it relieves them of digging into their pockets.

                          I believe that merging three well run departments would not save a ton of money. Supervision, leadership, training and support would all still be required. More units with more firefighters requires more of all of those things. And large departments covering large areas need intermediate levels of command. You need command staff, unit supervision, apparatus and firefighters to handle multiple events simultaneously. Large areas of coverage make simultaneous events more likely.

                          Aside from the response time aspect, one could make the argument that the current aid system is more efficient than merging would be. From a financial standpoint there is little doubt. Because we are basically gambling that we will be OK.
                          Now you're getting into the age old taxation question. Property Taxes been funding government from before I was born. What is a fairer way to pay for local government Captn? Income Tax? And for fire protection funding at least the assessed value represents at least some indication of the property fire protection load. How would a flat fee be fair? Walmart and uncle wally in his mobile home pay the same fee?

                          Fairness of taxation not the discussion here. Fairness in the existing tax structure is the topic. Auto aid fire deals have unequal funding by taxpayer groups and every voter approved lawful uniting of fire agencies has equal taxation.

                          If you have well run departments, stick with mutual aid or come together with other communities if you want. But most Departments I see doing auto aid are hurting for tax dollars and firefighters or just want to keep their firefighter costs artificially low by treating other fire department firefighters as their own. That's dangerous.

                          Comment


                          • #73
                            Originally posted by Too_Old View Post

                            Wow, how to make friends and influence people 101 I guess. If someone doesn't buy the argument you are putting forward, just call them stupid :thumbsup: .

                            You are telling me right there that they are paying widely different amounts. There is nothing fair about assessing the cost for a fire service based on the value of the property. A single family dwelling on a waterfront lot that is assessed at $900,000 represents exactly the same fire risk as one that is two rows back on a rural lot and is assessed at $250,000. How is it fair that the waterfront lot owner pays three times the amount in fire tax ? So why is there a problem with folks living in different fire districts paying different mill rates ?



                            Why should they ? It costs the same to buy and staff a piece of apparatus regardless of the jurisdiction you are in. In our local formula for all in-county automatic aid, there is a small payment that all the responding companies get for the operating expense of each piece they bring. The unit itself is already paid for with tax money, so that payment is pretty minimal, somewhere around $85 for an engine.



                            Right, you mentioned that. What you have failed to provide is any proof that in those circumstances a unified fire district or regional fire authority is a better deal for the taxpayers. Maybe everyone pays the same, but I wouldn't be all that thrilled if that 'same' means me paying $2.50 vs. paying 80 cents before.



                            A utility fee based on the assessed square footage of the protected property is probably the fairest way to assess the cost of fire protection. Give a discount for sprinklered properties and for properties, for type I construction and for properties that are in a ISO10 territory more than 5 miles from the station. That way those who get the protection (and reduced insurance rates) from the presence of a higher rated fire service are the ones bearing the cost of that fire service.


                            You are long winded, if nothing else.

                            Go start your own thread on taxation vs utility fees. F&%K utility fees for FD if you ask me. .

                            If you want my thoughts on FD utility fees go see my post under ambulances.

                            And now you are on a rant about unfair property taxes and merged voter approved FD's costing three times as much. Get out of the weeds or start your own thread. Nobody likes taxes but they gotta be paid. Whiner.

                            And just taking lessons from you on making friends.
                            Last edited by Bigjohn24; 09-07-2018, 11:12 AM.

                            Comment


                            • #74
                              Originally posted by Bigjohn24 View Post

                              Now you're getting into the age old taxation question. Property Taxes been funding government from before I was born. What is a fairer way to pay for local government Captn? Income Tax? And for fire protection funding at least the assessed value represents at least some indication of the property fire protection load. How would a flat fee be fair? Walmart and uncle wally in his mobile home pay the same fee?

                              Fairness of taxation not the discussion here. Fairness in the existing tax structure is the topic. Auto aid fire deals have unequal funding by taxpayer groups and every voter approved lawful uniting of fire agencies has equal taxation.

                              If you have well run departments, stick with mutual aid or come together with other communities if you want. But most Departments I see doing auto aid are hurting for tax dollars and firefighters or just want to keep their firefighter costs artificially low by treating other fire department firefighters as their own. That's dangerous.
                              My point wasn't that income taxes should pay for local government. My point is that taxation in general is not fairly applied.

                              I did not intend to suggest that Walmart and "Uncle Wally in his mobile home" should pay the same. Certainly a differentiation could be made between residential and commercial/industrial. Square footage could be used as someone else already suggested. But why should the mobile home pay less than a similar sized standard construction home?

                              In a nutshell, you are on a quest for fairness in taxation. Or tax structure, as you put it. Either way, good luck with that. There are built in inequalities all over the place in taxation and government services.

                              I see your point. I just don't think there is much chance for change there.

                              Comment


                              • #75
                                Originally posted by captnjak View Post

                                Square footage could be used as someone else already suggested. But why should the mobile home pay less than a similar sized standard construction home?
                                Based on local experience, we should charge 'Wally' double for the obligation to protect his death trap.

                                Comment

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