One overlooked factor in the case of the Tennessee fire department that watched houses burn when owners failed to pay
In a Kentucky county perhaps not coincidentally on the Tennessee border, that connection is clear-cut.
From the Middlesboro Daily News:
Bell Countians will be asked to consider adding a fire department subscribers fee to their budgets in the new year.
In a notice issued to media on Monday by Assistant Fire Chief David Miracle, the fire department states, in part:
“The Bell County Volunteer Fire Department would like to inform the citizens of Bell County that effective January 1, 2012, the BCVFD will be collecting an annual subscribers fee for the fire department. This is a voluntary fee and is in no way mandatory. The BCVFD will not deny our services to anyone.
Miracle stated that the fire department would like to be funded entirely through a mandatory subscribers fee and claimed that BCVFD representatives had proposed that in Bell County Fiscal Court (BCFC) in the past.
The BCVFD and the BCFC have been in and out of court for five years due to changes in county ordinances that now requires the BCVFD to submit receipts for reimbursement, rather than receiving an allotted amount each year with little accountability.
The BCVFD collectively says that they are not owned by the county and have no indebtedness to tax payers.
“We own it,” Miracle said, “We are a 5013c non-profit corporation.” He also likened the BCVFD to a paving company that would be used contractually by the county.
Bell County Judge Executive Albey Brock disagrees, as he has many times in this long-running argument. “Since the fire department’s inception, the taxpayer has given them over $6 million,” Brock said. “They are a non-profit group established to provide service.”
Since the BCVFD has closed two of the nine stations (Colmar and Arjay stations were closed mid-December) in the county, Brock says funding will be halted. “At this point, we can’t fund them, if they’re closing stations.”
So it's a political fight. But it's a political fight that wouldn't happen if Bell County weren't strapped by state budget cuts, caused by federal budget cuts, caused by deficit hysteria and an economic meltdown caused by banksters on Wall Street.