By Henry Twombly, Sedona Resident
(October 19, 2017)
The SFD is mounting a full-court-press, fearmongering campaign to convince us residents to pass their $17.9m bond. I have already received two Safer Sedona fliers, exhorting me to do the right thing. Moreover I’ve twice seen people in Safer Sedona t-shirts, canvassing different neighborhoods, passing out fliers door to door. (Not to mention Chief Kazian’s articles in SRRN over the past two months.) So the SFD is using our tax dollars from their $16m plus budget to lobby us for more of our tax dollars…because we’re unsafe?
The flier argues “Our fire stations desperately need repair and the communications equipment is outdated.” The fire stations need repair because of SFD’s fiscal mismanagement and negligence (not prioritizing repairs). Over the years SFD has upgraded their communication equipment, so I question how out-of-date it really is. (See more of what SFD wants on p.5A of SRRN’s issue for October 13, 2017.) What is unsafe is our wallets. While neglecting repairs, the SFD has spent money on top-of-the-line, very expensive engines, higher salaries, better-funded pension plans, and more employees. Seemingly the SFD has prioritized itself over the financial well-being of the community.
Citing a possible emergency and community suffering, the flier is a classic example of fearmongering that’s intended to stir up and exploit our dread, so we will vote for the bond. Don’t let the SFD manipulate our emotions for its financial gain. Don’t reward their fiscal mismanagement and negligence. Do the right thing and vote NO on the bond.
AGREED, this is fear mongering at its BEST. We will all vote NO!
Well stated Henry except for one item. They did not and cannot buy “better-funded pension plans” for the sworn employees – those are all in the PSPRS system (as I am) and contributors were forced to increase contributions recently – it was not a choice. I’m not sure what SFD is doing with their civilian employees but we can all rest assured they have the finest plan available – at our expense. It is amazing that nearby fire districts have about half the expenses that SFD does for more stations, larger population and larger staff. I agree the “Safer Sedona” slogan is way off target but there is a segment of the local population that drinks the Kool Aid and will blindly vote Yes without digging into the real issues with the SFD. Chief Kazian has already stated that if the bond doesn’t pass, they will just raise the mil rate to give them what they WANT. That is EXTORTION in its finest form! The #1 problem is they fail the understand the difference between WANT and NEED and unfortunately, the District system allows that to happen because all they have to do is get a Board to approve ANY budget and send it to the County and the County has to collect it! No oversight, no audit, no nothing. This Board is failing the taxpayers miserably but nobody is doing anything about that either . . . yet. . . . stay tuned.
I am still trying to understand the math in the Bond. Taxes are going to go up as the Board and the Management have created this situation. Taxes pays for the Bond – taxes also pays for the INTEREST on the Bond which buys nothing. It is going to take a combination of a change in the board, that opportunity is next year, and spending some money – prioritizing and allocating wisely. Rubber stamping the Chief’s want list is certainly not what a Board is supposed to do.
We have an empty station in the canyon NORTH of Slide Rock and a spare engine. We used to have an engine in there manned by a volunteer unit – until the union forced the closure. And he wants to abandon a station, a million bucks and build in Slide Rock Park? That takes legislative action due to the convents that were placed on the property by the owner who deeded it to the state. The fantasy dreams are getting almost fairy like.
The scare tactics are in full bloom.
All the money that is necessary to do whatever capital improvements are NEEDED – which are different than WANTED are available. Time for a change.
Responsibility needs to be in charge again. The dollars are there without paying interest on a Bond – interest does not buy anything. http://www.arizonaliberty.us for the details. It’s just math.