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    This article was taken from the Northwest Herald which is a newspaper in McHenry County IL, and it is very disturbing.

    Security gets smell of pork



    Some things simply are not the job of the federal government.

    For example, the purchase of basic equipment for local police and fire departments is not something federal money should be spent on. It is spent, however, because congressional representatives enjoy bringing treats back to their districts.

    In this sense, Homeland Security Department money has become another example of pork spending.

    For example, 16th District Rep. Don Manzullo, R-Ill., delivered a $69,000 grant to the Fox River Grove Fire Protection District for helmets, coats, pants and gloves. Money for these items should not be coming from the federal government.

    Another example of how Homeland Security spending misses the mark came with the announcement that the department would put 97,000 weather radios in schools at a cost of $5 million.

    Weather radios are nice to have, and this is a well-intentioned expenditure. But is it really an appropriate use of federal money? In a word, no.

    School districts already have addressed the issue. For example, Woodstock District 200 has weather radios. It's common sense. If school districts need weather radios, that is a need that should be taken up by the individual district, not the federal government.

    The spending of Homeland Security money, which according to the San Francisco Chronicle, reached $50 billion in 2006, needs to be better scrutinized.

    In a Feb. 19 story, the Chronicle examined how Homeland Security money is being spent: Nautilus exercise equipment, free weights and a Bowflex machine for a fire department in New Jersey; Kevlar vests for police dogs in Ohio; and state-of-the-art emergency radios for Mason County, Wash., that were not compatible with the county's existing radios.

    Homeland Security should be focused on national issues, such as securing this nation's porous borders or ensuring that shipping containers at ports are inspected.

    Congress needs to do a better job evaluating and prioitizing Homeland Security spending.
    Last edited by TRUCK61; 10-04-2006, 10:53 PM.

  • #2
    Being the Devils advocate I can see where he is coming from in some ways. The government should not have to supply the local cities and towns with equipment because thats what local taxes should be used for and if that is not enough then maybe regionalization of departments needs to be done. In the same sense some communities can just not afford the equipment and this is there only option. Either way the government does need to have a better system of who gets grant money and how its spent.
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    ------GOD BLESS AMERICA ! ------

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    • #3
      This is an issue I'm torn on. I really think that federal money should be spent on the needs of the entire nation. Nothing changes on a federal level if a fire department doesn't have air packs or turnouts or new radios... So why is the federal government purchasing these things?

      Of course, I'm also part of the problem. If the federal government is going to be handing out money... Why not take it? If my department doesn't go for it, someone else's department will.
      sigpic

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      • #4
        "I agree, but..."

        Yes, he is absolutely correct. A lot of the things that federal grant money is funding benefits only the one little department that applied for it. Lots of the things being purchased are what many would concider "basic neccessities" that should be funded by the municipality being protected. Basic turnout gear, exercise equipment, and weather radios are classic examples.

        HOWEVER, there are two inherent flaws in this thinking, no matter how right it is.

        1. Municipalities just don't fund it. They either don't have the money at all, or the politicians are too stupid to figure it out and spend it on other usless things. Yea, they could raise taxes to fund it, but nobody wants to do that and it just isn't going to happen. If the federal money wasn't there, they still wouldn't get the money from the municipality so there is no alternative in *reality* (notice I am not defending this, I'm just saying it like it is).

        2. Not all departments are municipal! There are tons of small rural fire and ems departments that do not recieve a dime from the taxpayers. Their only funding is donations, bingo, or standing out in the middle of the road with a boot. A good year is when they top 5,000 in grand total funding. They have no other source of funding. Basic neccessities are simply out of reach and municipal funding is not going to happen either (see above).

        Now I concider my department very fortunate and well organized. The equipment is owned by the town and we have an annual municipal funding of $260,000. $80,000 per year of that goes into an apparats replacement slush fund that builds up over the years. When we need a new apparatus, the money is already there and it is planned out for then next 15 years. My own individual line items on the town budget (communications & EMS) are more than some of those departments total available funding for the year, maybe even two. And that is only for operational equipment. The firehouse building, property, and non-operational amenities are all privately owned and funded by us. The town simply "contracts" us to do their firefighting and use town equipment. So we have a seperate private "company budget" for non-operations expenses. That is also in excess of $50k, maybe $100k per year and it is all community donations. I think our bathroom renovation capital expenditure was more than some of those departments have in their entire yearly operaitonal budget.

        So, if they want to apply for grant money to get gear and fire trucks THEN MORE POWER TO THEM. The feds are offering the money. If they weren't offering it, nobody else would and we'd have nothing. So tough shizznit if you don't like it. Get over it.
        Last edited by nmfire; 10-05-2006, 01:31 AM.
        Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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        • #5
          I agree with the article.

          And nmfire, no offense, but generally speaking, it's not my responsibility or fault that the fire department you mention does not have the money they need. No reason to take my taxes and give to them. (and yes, i know, lots of our taxes go to very similar things - i don't have to agree with it)
          "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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          • #6
            Yeah; I'd rather see tax money go for more important projects, like Illinois' lesbian museum.
            Government has lost sight of what is in the private interest and what is in the public interest.
            The great debate: should funding of fire departments be a local issue or a federal issue?
            There; I have left the door open.
            CR
            Visit www.iacoj.com
            Remember Bradley Golden (9/25/01)
            RIP HOF Robert J. Compton(ENG6511)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ChiefReason
              The great debate: should funding of fire departments be a local issue or a federal issue?
              There; I have left the door open.
              CR
              Yes and no. (Blew the door right off its hinges)
              Proud East Coast Traditionalist.

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              • #8
                As a taxpayer, I strongly feel that some federal monies be used to make entire nation better protected when it comes to Fire, Rescue and EMS service. I think there should be better accountablity and limits to what grant monies are used for. I am ready for the "fire service is a local issue" mantra to appear. But as we have seen, the "local fire service" has been deployed to places near and far as a result of natural and man-made disasters. Spend the money...But spend it wisely.
                IAFF-IACOJ PROUD

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                • #9
                  We often forget where the money comes from. Instead of taxing the individual and reallocating the money just lay off the taxes and leave it up to the individual to allocate his money. He will do a better job I am sure.

                  Birken

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bones42
                    And nmfire, no offense, but generally speaking, it's not my responsibility or fault that the fire department you mention does not have the money they need. No reason to take my taxes and give to them. (and yes, i know, lots of our taxes go to very similar things - i don't have to agree with it)
                    None taken. In fact, I think we both agree. All that stuff I said about funding is the current reality... not neccessarily what I think is right.
                    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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                    • #11
                      I have my own feelings, which I'm sure I'll post later on who should pay.......However, turning back to the article that was posted......

                      The writer did not do his homework very well.... The money for the Fire Department equipment came from the Assistance to Firefighters grant program, the Weather radios from a different program.

                      Now, I understand that DHS is now the main agency that controls USFS and FEMA, but when that grant was originally put together, it was not part of DHS, so to compare the two expenditures is kinda like comparing apples and oranges...... they're both fruit, but they sure taste different.....

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        It's not as if most local governments will do any funding. They're looking for ways to cut stuff out of the budget and LEO/FD/EMS is usually one of the first things looked at.

                        If the federal government will give loans to countries for little things, why not help fire departments. The way I see it, we're going to be paying taxes anyhow, might as well see the return of it in my area than paying for a water pump in a rice field in Korea.
                        NREMT-P\ Reserve Volunteer Firefighter\Reserve Police Officer
                        IACOJ Attack

                        Experts built the Titanic, amateurs built the Ark.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by RyanEMVFD
                          It's not as if most local governments will do any funding. They're looking for ways to cut stuff out of the budget and LEO/FD/EMS is usually one of the first things looked at.

                          If the federal government will give loans to countries for little things, why not help fire departments. The way I see it, we're going to be paying taxes anyhow, might as well see the return of it in my area than paying for a water pump in a rice field in Korea.
                          Amen. we spend billions of dollars "LENDING IT" to these third world countries who we know dam well will never be able to pay it back. id rather see the money go into emergencey services. there are numerous depts that need new bunker gear, trucks and equipment that can save their lives but cant afford to get it. instead we have to be politically correct and give all of this money to starving people in africa. im sorry but there are more people without the weapons then there are with.
                          " IF GUNS KILL PEOPLE THEN I CAN BLAME MY MISSPELLINGS ON MY PENCIL" -Larry The Cable Guy-

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ChiefReason
                            Yeah; I'd rather see tax money go for more important projects, like Illinois' lesbian museum.
                            Government has lost sight of what is in the private interest and what is in the public interest.
                            The great debate: should funding of fire departments be a local issue or a federal issue?
                            There; I have left the door open.
                            CR
                            I'd be first in line to see the lesbian museum, but of course, only the "Lipstick" section. The "Ellen" section will have to wait.

                            As for the other question...

                            To me it all comes down to jurisdiction. If the departments are locally administered, regulated, and operated, than the responsibility rests completely with the local government having jurisdiction.

                            Of course if the Department is Federal, or the federal government want to mandate standards that the local departments will be bound to uphold, than they must be expected to pay or at least share the bill.

                            Government grants for the fire service don't exist in Canada (at least with any sort of regularity), so I always look in disbelief at what your federal grants seem to buy for you guys.

                            And I sure can't blame the Chief's for taking advantage of what's there, because if they don't, somebody else will. But if it were my taxes, I would only want to pay for the extraordinary things that the local government didn't have the ability or responsibility to fund (and by ability I mean fiscal means, not political will).
                            Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

                            IACOJ

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RyanEMVFD
                              It's not as if most local governments will do any funding. They're looking for ways to cut stuff out of the budget and LEO/FD/EMS is usually one of the first things looked at.

                              If the federal government will give loans to countries for little things, why not help fire departments. The way I see it, we're going to be paying taxes anyhow, might as well see the return of it in my area than paying for a water pump in a rice field in Korea.

                              And the more money the feds dump on these communities for things, the more money is cut by the municipalities.

                              Local responsibility means local funding. You either get it or you don't. Don't go sucking at the tit of the federal government.

                              I agree with the point that the feds fund crap the crap that they do. But when you continue to elect these people for 40 years to political office, what do you expect?

                              Get rid of the career twits, and hold the politicians accountable.
                              "Too many people spend money they haven't earned, to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like." Will Rogers

                              The borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7 - Debt free since 10/5/2009.

                              "No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is in session." - New York Judge Gideon Tucker

                              "As Americans we must always remember that we all have a common enemy, an enemy that is dangerous, powerful and relentless. I refer, of course, to the federal government." - Dave Barry

                              www.daveramsey.com www.clarkhoward.com www.heritage.org

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