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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Passaic, N.J. Considers Charging For Emergency Calls

Most would agree that one of the most fundamental legitimate services of Government, especially at the local/town/village/city level, is to respond to emergencies on behalf of imperiled Citizens.

If that is the mandate, it should be assigned funds to do the task.

So, here's the question: If Passaic doesn't have the money to answer fire and accident calls, their fundamental task to which first funds should go - for what are they paying?

Before a citizen has to pay (above and beyond taxes) for a fire engine, should the Mayor be paid a salary?

Where is the money being spent?

Here's the story.



  1. why are fire/ems services even the responsibility of the city/state?
    up here where I live (out in the boonies of NE PA) our fire and ems services are volunteers. these volunteer organizations do get some funding from the government for equipment (some of which is included in the property taxes), but our people receive no pay or benefits (except for workers comp if necessary and liability insurance). These organizations do charge the patient when their services are required. They also offer a membership where you pay a small fee annually based on the size of your family and if you need the services you are not charged for the call.
    The way I see it, if the residents are too lazy to provide for their own health and safety, they deserve to burn with their possessions.
    Just because something is a good idea, it doesn't make it the governments responsibility. Ben Franklin started the first VOLUNTEER fire department in Philadelphia. They charged to respond to calls, but it was not run by the government. I'm going out on a limb here, but if Franklin thought it should be the governments responsibility he would have made it that way.

  2. I agree, Mark. There are very, very few things "Government" should handle, and most tasks can be done better and cheaper by private industry.

    And if a community decides to have a "Professional" fire/EMS/LEO force - ok, that is good for them. But I bet the politicians are still getting their paychecks, and the bureaucrats are still getting paid with tax money - they'll pay themselves first, and then cut services they were elected/hired to do.

    They are all crooks, and the Citizen's of Passaic have every right to take City Hall and send every city employee home, for good.


  3. Here in my little town the EMS and fire departments are part of city government. If you need their services you are going to be charged for them. Charged dearly. It's crazy, I know. I already pay far too much in property taxes.

  4. Well, yeah, there is that...
    I guess I got a little sideways there. I do also think that there are very few politicians anywhere that are actually doing what they are supposed to do. I guess I see two separate arguments in this one issue. The first is the one I mentioned above: it's shouldn't be the government's responsibility to provide fire/ems services. The second is that IF they do, they should make sure those services are funded properly before they themselves are funded "properly". I do believe that fire & ems are much more important than ANY politician (that's why I'm a volunteer myself).

  5. To clarify my comment:

    We pay what I consider to be too much in property takes. The highest millage rate allowed by state law, which not too many cities in Iowa charge. ($xx.xx per $1000 of assessed valuation) Most cities pay a percentage of the maximum millage rate allowed by law. Most are under 80% of the max.

    If I call an ambulance and it transports me to the hospital or provides on scene services, it's going to cost me at least $1400. Likewise, if I need the fire department at my residence, I will be billed for it. It's a pretty neat gig (snark) for the city because most people have insurance and that insurance usually covers most of the cost.

    At budget time each year the Mayor makes his public statement that he's going to work with the city council to try to avoid any property tax increase for the upcoming year. Two weeks later he makes the announcement that there is no way he is going to lay off police and firefighters, so a property tax increase will be necessary. (like the police and firefighters are the only place they can cut costs) Almost all city and county workers are covered under union contracts. Untouchable. :)

    Ahhh well.... Point is that we pay ridiculous property taxes and there is an additional fee for nearly everything that the city and county do. Kinda like the Fed. They can't live within their means.

  6. Like Mark our fire is all VFD. Most of the bigger communities have one. While the EMS/Ambulance is a private company.

    If you need a ride to the hospital, you gonna pay out the nose. A friend had to take a 2 mile ride to the hospital last year and got charged $900.

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