Monday, June 6, 2011

Cheaper Isn't Always Better

Should we merge our fire/rescue with BSO? This proposal worries me. I say NO, NO, a couple of million times NO. This is purely a money saving decision and will prove to be penny wise and pound foolish. We will save money this year and maybe next, and then the upward spiral will start, by the time we realize this was a bad decision, it will be too late and we will be stuck if we want to change anything.

In yesterday’s paper we saw a report of disgraced Sheriff Jenne’s plush office furnishings, part of our police costs went to furnish that palace; do we want to add our fire budget to this kind of abuse? The new sheriff may be better, but what about future sheriffs? What about negotiations for salary, what if we want to go in a different direction with the makeup of the fire department. CONTROL will be out of our hands. What would happen, for example if down the line we want to separate the fire from the rescue, or add trained volunteers to cut down costs? If we are with BSO those possibilities would be impossible. What if we decide we need more coverage and in an improving economy we want to expand, if the sheriff says no, that’s it. We will have lost control.

BUT, the most compelling reason for not merging is if we have BSO for both police and fire, OVER 50% of our yearly budget, EVERY YEAR, will be controlled by the sheriff, we will be handcuffed to whatever budget he comes up with. We will have no control over salaries etc. Will the savings continue? Or, is this a low ball figure which will go higher and higher as the years go by? I heard that Lake Worth is regretting their switch to PBSO and now cannot afford the upfront costs to go back to a city managed force.

When the referendum is on the ballot to vote yes or no to allow the BSO to use our fire/rescue facilities I intend to vote NO.

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