It disturbed me a great deal to read the Dec. 18 story, "Harlem turns down fire service offer." I see this as a power struggle between the city and the county governments that ignore the fire protection needs of some Columbia County citizens.
Assuming this is the amount the effected county residents pay for the fire protection service, I think the city's request of $36,868 was very reasonable. It makes sense to me since the cost is fully covered by a specific tax that residents already pay.
Instead, the county is establishing a new fire station on White Road because they cannot have their way of paying the city by the call. It will be staffed with two full-time firefighters during the day and volunteers manning the station at night.
How much will it cost the county to establish a new station? There will be additional cost associated with a new station. Will we build a new fire station? Utility bills (phone, electricity, water) add up. The station needs additional fire trucks. How much would that add up to? That $36,868 wouldn't even cover the two full-time firefighters' salaries.
Our elected officials have responsibilities to provide necessary services to county citizens without wasting tax dollars. I hope they will put aside their personal feelings and make decisions that all of Columbia County can be proud of.
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