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Yeah I saw this the other day ... some pretty sad and outrageous stories ...
 

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There are some people who would steal from their own Grandmother :lookinup:
 

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Haven't read the article, but this is not uncommon. Many localities need more emergency services than their tax base is willing to pay for. Politicians will cut funding to keep taxes low and get re-elected. Police, fire, and EMS are then left with no alternative to pay for fuel and equipment. Rather than cut off services, they bill those who are able to pay.

People demand more and more from the government, but underestimate the cost.
 

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Okay, let me introduce another point of view to this discussion. First, let me begin by saying that I am a Chief Officer of a municipal fire department with 38 years of service (so far). While my department does not bill for services, and has no immediate plans to do so, many departments are in fact beginning this practice. Generally speaking, those departments that do follow this practice utilize third-party billing to insurance companies for recovery of costs associated with rescue and extrication services at motor vehicle accidents. It is becoming increasingly common in the fire service, and is nothing new. Here is the reasoning behind the practice:

Let me make it clear that I am speaking about third-party billing to insurance companies for rescue and extrication services provided at motor vehicle accident scenes. I cannot envision any scenario where it could be justified to additionally charge residents for a service their tax dollars already fund, such as firefighting. In the case of my own department, we have two major interstate highways that intersect in our jurisdiction. We respond to over 21,000 alarms per year, which includes many, many MVA's on the interstate. The vast majority of the people involved in these accidents are not residents of the area, or even the state. Why should our residents' tax dollars provide free services to all these people? It was discovered many years ago that a bill for services provided to the user's insurance company would be promptly paid, no questions asked. Basically, the auto insurance industry couldn't understand why this hadn't been done for years. It is a reasonable charge for services provided, the cost of which would otherwise be borne entirely by the city taxpayers. The cost of a modern heavy rescue unit, the equipment it carries, and the personnel to safely and professionally operate it can easily be well into seven figures. I see no problem with billing out-of-town users of these services. Fair is fair.

Again, I do not condone any municpality charging its residents an additional fee for services by their tax-funded public safety forces. I do understand them charging for such things to out-of-town users of those services such as rescue, extrication, HazMat and mutual aid responses outside the city. Those recipients of our services receive the same rapid, professional services as our taxpayers. I don't think it's unreasonable for them to help shoulder the considerable expense of these services when they were the user.

Nothing in life is free.
 

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The vast majority of the people involved in these accidents are not residents of the area, or even the state. Why should our residents' tax dollars provide free services to all these people?
How about because they pay taxes in their town so that if you have an accident there someone will help you?

In France you will get no bill, regardless of your country of origin, because these services are paid through taxes, for any rescue recovery.

Either you tax and don't bill, or you bill and don't tax. But don't raise taxes and make people pay for services, because it is simply a scam.

In addtion to this, we have politicians (mayors, chief of police, ...) giving themselves nice salaries for their services. Cf the issue recently discussed about someone earning hundreds of thousands of dollars as a police chief.

For me, the problem is the morality and ethics, or lack thereof, of those governing.

a++ Cedric
 

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How about because they pay taxes in their town so that if you have an accident there someone will help you?
And, suppose they are one of the ever-increasing communities that DO bill you? As the practice becomes more and more common this will be the case more and more frequently. We can play "what-if" all day long, but as long as emergency services are continually under-funded there will need to be a way to pay for services. Making those who actually use them seems like the more prudent policy. That is neither a morality nor ethics question.
 

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Every time there is a charge or an increase there is a uproar. What is there to understand here?

Its like those informercials on TV every thing is $19.99 +S/H and if you act right now we will double the quanity just pay the S+H. The problem is they don't advertize the S+H and when you add the $19.99 and S+H its now longer a deal.

The same thing is happening here, NOBODY wants there taxes to go up and all our wimpy elected officals like to campain during the election year that they did not raise your taxes but what they fail to say is that they failed in cutting back on spending and they get re-elected:crazy:

Eventually when you don't incress revenue (taxes) and you don't cut back on spending (balanced budget) you have to get the money other ways IE fees. THAT SUCKS:spanked:

Here my taxes on my home have pretty muched stayed the same for the last ten years (believe it or not) but I have been stung on incressing fees for every thing else:

Car Registration
Driver's licence
Water and sewer
Building permits
Trash removal
Appliance removal
boat lauch permit
Snowmobile registration
Postage stamps

.....Get the Picture...... Every service cost money and the cost will sometimes be maintained but if you were to bet your bottom dollar, over the next year it will go up not down and the money has to come from somewhere:smack
 

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And, suppose they are one of the ever-increasing communities that DO bill you? As the practice becomes more and more common this will be the case more and more frequently. We can play "what-if" all day long, but as long as emergency services are continually under-funded there will need to be a way to pay for services. Making those who actually use them seems like the more prudent policy. That is neither a morality nor ethics question.
So how about operating within your funding?
Are you another tea party member that expects big gov to reduce spending and operate within the expenses given or less expenses, but it's ok for you to charge people twice?


Because that's typically how most leo's and firemen feel.
Easy to point the finger, but leave your pot alone.

Same goes with the school system bailouts they just did.

"Cut spending and retirement, just dont cut mine."
:rolleyes:
Typical.


Your services are greatly appreciated,...
But the bottom line should still be....control your bills and spending, operate within your budget.
 

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Every time there is a charge or an increase there is a uproar. What is there to understand here?

Its like those informercials on TV every thing is $19.99 +S/H and if you act right now we will double the quanity just pay the S+H. The problem is they don't advertize the S+H and when you add the $19.99 and S+H its now longer a deal.

The same thing is happening here, NOBODY wants there taxes to go up and all our wimpy elected officals like to campain during the election year that they did not raise your taxes but what they fail to say is that they failed in cutting back on spending and they get re-elected:crazy:

Eventually when you don't incress revenue (taxes) and you don't cut back on spending (balanced budget) you have to get the money other ways IE fees. THAT SUCKS:spanked:

Here my taxes on my home have pretty muched stayed the same for the last ten years (believe it or not) but I have been stung on incressing fees for every thing else:

Car Registration
Driver's licence
Water and sewer
Building permits
Trash removal
Appliance removal
boat lauch permit
Snowmobile registration
Postage stamps

.....Get the Picture...... Every service cost money and the cost will sometimes be maintained but if you were to bet your bottom dollar, over the next year it will go up not down and the money has to come from somewhere:smack
let alone the millions that have had home and property taxes increased yet their homes dropped 30 to 50 percent in value...
 

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Your services are greatly appreciated,...
But the bottom line should still be....control your bills and spending, operate within your budget.
:agree:

If that means older vehicles, older equipment, less men on the job....so be it. :thumbsup:
 

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Every time there is a charge or an increase there is a uproar. What is there to understand here?

Its like those informercials on TV every thing is $19.99 +S/H and if you act right now we will double the quanity just pay the S+H. The problem is they don't advertize the S+H and when you add the $19.99 and S+H its now longer a deal.

The same thing is happening here, NOBODY wants there taxes to go up and all our wimpy elected officals like to campain during the election year that they did not raise your taxes but what they fail to say is that they failed in cutting back on spending and they get re-elected:crazy:

Eventually when you don't incress revenue (taxes) and you don't cut back on spending (balanced budget) you have to get the money other ways IE fees. THAT SUCKS:spanked:

Here my taxes on my home have pretty muched stayed the same for the last ten years (believe it or not) but I have been stung on incressing fees for every thing else:

Car Registration
Driver's licence
Water and sewer
Building permits
Trash removal
Appliance removal
boat lauch permit
Snowmobile registration
Postage stamps

.....Get the Picture...... Every service cost money and the cost will sometimes be maintained but if you were to bet your bottom dollar, over the next year it will go up not down and the money has to come from somewhere:smack


Or the National Parks you need to pay to use, pay to camp, pay to .....

ssdd...
double taxation kinda...
 

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And, suppose they are one of the ever-increasing communities that DO bill you? As the practice becomes more and more common this will be the case more and more frequently. We can play "what-if" all day long, but as long as emergency services are continually under-funded there will need to be a way to pay for services. Making those who actually use them seems like the more prudent policy. That is neither a morality nor ethics question.
There is one moral/ethical question (other than the corruption issue): if I don't have the money to pay you will leave me die?

From my perspective, firetrucks, ambulance, police should be managed by the state. They should be state employees paid for by the state through taxes.

That way all have equal access to health care providers and these providers are not free to set the prices of their services as they are civil servants, thereby keeping costs in check.

This is how France works - we do have volunteer fire fighters though to complement the pros, especially in the rural areas (low accident rate/small population may not justify permanent presence).

The alternative is that there is no tax and you bill those who use: survival of the richest.

a++ Cedric
 

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So how about operating within your funding?
Are you another tea party member that expects big gov to reduce spending and operate within the expenses given or less expenses, but it's ok for you to charge people twice?
"Operating within our funding" means answering an ever-increasing number of increasingly complex alarms for every concievable circumstance (and some that are very nearly inconceivable) no matter what level of funding we are given . . . and guess what, it doesn't increase every year although the workload has increased exponentially in my 38 years. 40 years ago my city answered 10,000 alarms with 21 engine companies, 9 ladder companies and a little over 500 firefighters. Last year we answered over 21,000 alarms with 10 engine companies, 6 ladder companies and less than 400 firefighters - so don't preach to me about "doing more with less". And, if you had been following the discussion at all, you would see that I am no proponent of "charging people twice" for anything. Please try to read more carefully next time.

Because that's typically how most leo's and firemen feel. Easy to point the finger, but leave your pot alone.
You could not be more wrong. While you may believe that you know how most policemen and firemen feel, in reality you have no clue. I would invite you to ride in the chief's car with me some evening and your attitude would be re-focused wonderfully for you. Don't pass judgement on people or situations you know nothing about.

Same goes with the school system bailouts they just did. "Cut spending and retirement, just dont cut mine." Typical.
Yes, you are correct about one thing - your comments are indeed typical. Fortunately for you, we bloated, selfish, overpaid firefighters will continue to risk everything we have and everything we are even for you, your wife and your children. We never ask who lives there when the alarm rings, and we don't judge anyone's value over another. The homeless person in that box under the freeway exit gets the same prompt, professional response as the millionaire in his mansion.

And no, we're not heroes. We made the choice to do this, and we see it as a public trust. Even with the loss of too many good friends over the years, I can't even imagine doing anything else. If the price I have to pay for that is the nonsensical rantings of the underinformed, so be it. I will not be judged by non-combatants. My own heroes sit across the table from me at the firehouse.

And Fluffy, I don't think that you can find a single instance where anyone has been left to die because they couldn't pay their rescuers. That isn't even the discussion here. And while state control of public safety forces is one option (and one that many foreign nations use), it is far from a cure-all and doesn't always work all that well. As has been pointed out countless times before, the beauracracy that system brings with it tends to negate any potentially savings realized by economies of scale. We continue to struggle with increased work loads, reduced personnel, and slashed budgets . . . and we're not stamping out washing machines here. When the economy is bad, we can't shut down the plant for a month or stamp out fewer washing machines. However many alarms are received, we must (and will) answer with whatever resources we are given. There is no "Plan B". Keeping the older equipment longer is not usually a cost-effective option, you end up spending more in maintenance costs and losing units to down time, which you cannot do.

Look, if your house is on fire, or your family is in an overturned car, you don't care about anything but this: When you put down the phone from calling 911, you want to hear sirens. That's what everyone wants, and what everyone has come to expect. The reality is that emergency services are a VERY expensive proposition. There are really only two questiions:
1.) What level of emergency services are you willing and able to pay for?
2.) How little are you willing to settle for?

This is the only proper gauge of what emergency services should cost in your municipality. Those policemen and firemen don't work for the mayor, or the police and fire chiefs - they work for YOU. So you make your choice, and you live with it.

And in most municipalities, the public hasn't even been asked those two questions. How would YOU answer them?
 

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Haven't read the article, but this is not uncommon. Many localities need more emergency services than their tax base is willing to pay for. Politicians will cut funding to keep taxes low and get re-elected. Police, fire, and EMS are then left with no alternative to pay for fuel and equipment. Rather than cut off services, they bill those who are able to pay.

People demand more and more from the government, but underestimate the cost.
Yup, they call it their "right" and expect it to be served to them without cost or effort.
 

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"Cities across the country are billing people for emergency services"

That's local and Federal government has Sqwandered all the Cash away

AKA Stole yure money


Also most state employee's are way over paid for the skills they possess

" We Don't Live In that economy ANY MORE !

Thus the federal government has come up with a new plan,

Out source Jobs to Communist Countries like "China"

Create more jobs in Government,

Extend Credit to everyone including Illegal Aliens

Then Tax the F***************************q
out of those of us that keep this economy "AFloat"

Get all the hard working Privateer business men to Buy all the Loafer's of America Including Illegal Aliens,
Medical insurance via a Obama Health care plan,




Brillant ! :nuts:
 

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"Operating within our funding" means answering an ever-increasing number of increasingly complex alarms for every concievable circumstance (and some that are very nearly inconceivable) no matter what level of funding we are given . . . and guess what, it doesn't increase every year although the workload has increased exponentially in my 38 years. 40 years ago my city answered 10,000 alarms with 21 engine companies, 9 ladder companies and a little over 500 firefighters. Last year we answered over 21,000 alarms with 10 engine companies, 6 ladder companies and less than 400 firefighters - so don't preach to me about "doing more with less".
Just curious, the number of alarms has increased but what of the quality/importance? How has that evolved?

Pushing the point a bit do you respond to cat in tree more often then before or the reverse?

Society has become a bit cry baby so just wondering how that has evolved.

a++ Cedric
 

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Just curious, the number of alarms has increased but what of the quality/importance? How has that evolved?

Pushing the point a bit do you respond to cat in tree more often then before or the reverse?

Society has become a bit cry baby so just wondering how that has evolved.
We have found that over the last 20 or 30 years, the number of serious fires has declined about 15-18% overall. We credit this to both earlier detection (smoke detectors) and earlier notification (cell phones and cable fire alarm systems). These two factors ensure that we get the call sooner and are able to arrive before the fire becomes more serious. In that same time frame, the number of EMS alarms has increased to the point where it is now nearly 65% of our alarms. I believe that you will find that our experience is reflected throughout most of the fire service.

And we haven't answered alarms for cats in trees for over 40 years. They all come down eventually . . . have you ever seen a cat skeleton in a tree? :D
 
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