Salem had alternatives to combining fire districts
OK, so we now have a joint fire district, at least temporarily. As we all know, there are only two things in life that are permanent and the fire district is not one of them.
I have been a noncity, Perry Township resident for 30 years and vehemently oppose of the formation of the district. It is a poorly conceived concept, even more poorly planned and implemented. The city council's main objectives, I feel were to break the firefighter's union and to formulate yet another back door means by which the city will, over time, absorb Perry Township thus gaining more population, larger tax base and receive more of those almighty local government funds.
Hopefully, the union leadership can deal with their part of the problem. We, as township residents, now have problems of our own. Several years ago we rejected merging with the city. Yet, here they come again. We have a board of trustees, which apparently has its own agenda, and it's not the same as the non-city township resident's. In my opinion, the trustees, with their approval of the district have only served to enable and facilitate the fraud which I feel is being perpetrated upon the good people of both Salem and Perry Township.
A big problem I have is the lack of logic behind the funding and contribution of money and assets of the city and township. All they needed to do was establish the number of calls in the last year responded to by both the city fire department and the township department. Then each entity should be responsible for contributing the corresponding percentage in funding and equipment. Instead, city council basically told our trustees, "throw in all of your safety levy monies and all of your equipment", and our elected trustees said, "no problem." The city council also said, "by the way, throw in all of the township property that is contiguous to the city border." The trustee said, "no problem."
No governing body should ever, ever play political football with the public safety. A short drive to Minerva and Cambridge, Ohio, will display two large sections of downtown areas very similar to Salem, which have been devastated by fires within the last two years. I have been a property insurance adjuster for the last 25 years and in my opinion both the Perry Township's and the city fire department's performance is way above average in terms of containment, ancillary damage and post-loss services.
Here are some suggestions on how city council could, over time, save a large portion of the $600,000 it allegedly needs.
1) Start charging the hospital for the life flight arrivals. I'm certain the chief can tell you what his hourly cost is for a fully equipped and staffed truck. Whatever those charges are, I'm sure they would be less than the amortized cost of a fire suppression system.
2) Talk with the firefighter's union and establish separate wage levels for stand-by time and response/ in service time. I think by now you may have the union's attention. And most importantly;
3) Sell your water and sewage utility services, instead of using them as a tool for bribery for annexation. There is ready market and you should be able to dictate your own price. I know your argument has been the income produced cannot legally channeled to other budgetary areas. A second year accounting and law student should be able to help you with that. Or, you could always use the word "emergency" to get around it, you seem pretty good at that.
Good kids inspire hope
You can't tell me that all kids are bad nowadays. Two great kids name Drue and Julia Boyd on Ravenna Road in Newton Falls asked their mom if they could sell lemonade at the street to raise money to help the Church Mouse help people in need.
Through their efforts, they were able to raise $10.20, which they donated here at the Church Mouse.
With kids like this growing up here in Newton Falls, I have no worries about the future.
DOUG GERLINGER, manager
Church Mouse Thrift Shop