Criticisms of The Mirror's levy endorsement | Letters
March 22, 2012 · Updated 5:40 PM
Amye Bronson-Doherty, the newest member of The Mirror’s editorial board, is also on the PRO committee for the fire district. How convenient.
Did the editorial board ask anyone from the con committee to provide some balance before taking their position? I know I offered, but was not invited or asked for input.
That aside, if you can, let’s review South King Fire and Rescue’s position with some scrutiny.
How does not getting this $3.5 million increase mean that between 20 and 25 firefighters could be laid off?
Those number do not pass the smell test.
Staffing levels are based on current revenues. But now we are to believe maintaining current revenues equals an additional loss of between 20 and 25 firefighters?
I am always impressed when fear tactics are thrown out in the name of public safety.
Now we are being told that failure of an additional $3.5 million in revenue means the loss of 20 to 25 firefighters? In the next two years?
How does this new math work out?
Passage of the excess levy will require the hiring of nine firefighters (this increases headcount, not reduces it).
Some funds will be used for building maintenance and capital equipment (none of this goes to keeping firefighters).
And the remaining $500,000 covers that unfunded budget drain of a training center property ($5 million spent with $230,000 per year in unadulterated debt) and adds one training officer, for a total of 10 projected new employees.
Nothing about this excess levy is meant to retain “between 20 and 25 firefighters.” But don’t let that stop the district from using this as a fear tactic to get the levy passed.
None of the budget models or forecast information presented by the fire district indicate gross reductions to future revenues, indeed most indicated we are at or near the low. Meaning revenues are either fixed or could see negligible decreases. Or that revenues could actually increase within the next two to four years.
But to the public, he presents some different “facts.”
With over 100 current firefighters in the district, I for one find it extremely difficult to believe the chief when he states failure of passing an excess levy could mean that 20 to 25 firefighters may be laid off by the end of 2013.
It does mean that even though our firefighters have taken pay freezes for the past two years, some members of the fire department can and do continue to ignore the budget crisis, and get paid for attending recognition ceremonies, mileage for going to meetings and meals at specially scheduled dinner meetings.
Jerry Galland, Unincorporated King County