Laying off Columbia County firefighters? Closing fire stations? Selling off equipment? Say it ain't so!
A couple of weeks ago, a The News-Times story by Valerie Rowell noted that Martinez-Columbia Fire Rescue was asking for nearly half a million dollars more in funding for next year's contract.
That ran into problems with the county, which pays the private fire department for fire and rescue services. The county insisted on holding the line or cutting current budget levels for all county departments, and for the fire department contract.
The loose chatter that followed, unfortunately, made it sound as if county homes were on the verge of being unprotected, with firefighters standing in unemployment lines.
Poppycock. County officials and the fire department simply did what they've always done: They got in a room and talked about it. The result is that next year's contract, says Columbia County Emergency Services Director Pam Tucker, will maintain the same level of staffing and services at the current level of funding.
You'd think we'd have been wise to this sort of gamesmanship after universities around Georgia threatened to kill off entire programs when the state proposed budget cuts, only to later scale down the changes to little more than budgetary tweaks.
We certainly don't need to see it at the local level, especially with something as important as fire protection. Back off the hysteria just a notch and let them do their jobs.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.