Duplicate systems burn public money

Published 12:03am Sunday, August 19, 2012

When politics and common sense face off — politics always wins out.

Once again the City of Natchez and Adams County are in disagreement over the city-county fire protection agreement, more precisely over how it’s funded.

The city thinks the county doesn’t pay its fair share. The county thinks it pays too much already.

The county is considering creating its own fire districts ahead of pulling out of the agreement with the city.

The city says it’s waiting on the county to talk about the future, and is ready to reduce the fire department’s staffing levels if the county pulls out.

Both approaches appear to be shortsighted.

It’s unfair for county supervisors to use county tax money — a portion of which is paid for by residents of the city — for something that only benefits residents in unincorporated parts of the county.

Likewise, for the city to suggest it will not go to calls in the county if the county chooses to go it alone is equally unfair. They haven’t said that outright this time, but it’s always been an unspoken threat.

We’ve long been proponents of consolidating services like fire protection. The only problem is that it’s been mishandled. Insurance experts tell us it is likely homeowner’s insurance rates could be lowered with some relatively simple changes.

Perhaps what really needs to happen is for the city and county to sit down together — not continue to just talk about doing it — and agree that working together is what’s best for the public.

At the end of the day, if we were all honest about the needs, we might agree that countywide fire protection is needed. But we might also see that the county might be in the best position to manage and fund fire protection without spending tax dollars on two, duplicative fire systems.

  • Anonymous

    Since I can’t read the other article without answering the question that I don’t want to answer, here goes.  Politicians here have adopted the Washington (DC, not north Natchez) complex, e.g. let’s do nothing but talk about it until the other side gives in to our thinking.  Obviously, there are lots of unknown factors that the talkers are not doing anything to get facts and costs about.  Failing to meet immediately well in advance of the budget deadlines is going to lead to a failed budget for both entities.  And these are the bozos that were elected to lead!  Looking at the $2+ mil budget the city has for firefighting should provide some clues whether there are areas being overspent causing the opinion difference.

  • Anonymous

    Slow down there OSG, the casino job fair was just on Saturday. You can read all about it
    on Thursday.

  • http://www.natchezdemocrat.com khakirat

    This would be surely cheaper and more effecent to the country folks than being screwed each year at budget times!! I still say the sheriff Deptm. should charge for call made in the city and I already know your come back!!!

  • Anonymous

    Well, it was Friday and Saturday.  Do you think we will have a two day series on coverage?  Maybe we should just wait and list those who were hired – in December before the opening.  No pictures so current employers see who is looking.

  • Anonymous

    Consolidation of every government office should be looked into.  There isn’t any  business reason that all county and city services shouldn’t be consolidated even including the Board of supervisors and aldermen.  The only reason that could not make it justified is the state law.  Memphis does it, Nashville does it and so do many other city and county units around the country.  Any county where there is only one true municipality should merge all services.  I do understand the logistics of the infrastructure and of that you have taxing and servicing districts. Too simple for some people to comprehend. Or should I say with ones in POWER who just might loose or have to share some of it.  The fire district was a move in the right direction now look at whats going on.  If there was just one “Rullng Body” the pi…ng contest could end.  But this is too easy. 

    As far as $3000.00 per call that sounds like a bargain.  2 $100,000.00+ trucks up to 16 firefighters, fuel, insurance, maintenance, management and other overhead.  Can any business of any kind provide these services for that money, its probably would be closer to 6,000.00  I wish some cost accountant would give use and exact cost.

    While I’m on the warpath, why do we have a police department and a sheriffs office one could certainly do both.  The sheriff office travels the city roads at all hours of the day and night at least let them do the night patrols.

    Again I say this is too simple and should I say an efficient use of tax dollars and loss of power for some people who don’t deserve to have any.