Fire district asked for too much too soon |

Fire district asked for too much too soon

When 849 Craig residents shot down the Craig Rural Fire District’s request for an additional $550,000 Tuesday, it wasn’t a “slap in the face” to the department’s volunteer firefighters as Chief Roy Mason said. It was a protest in how the issue was handled and how the public was educated.

The district announced less than three months ago it would ask voters for an increase. Instead of educating the public at the beginning of their campaign, officials waited until two short weeks before the election to hold public meetings. Even if the public had time to formulate questions, there was no time to pose them to district officials.

The campaign to educate the public was clearly inadequate and voters did exactly as they’ve been asked to do vote “no” if they don’t understand the issue.

Voters have also said they support the fire district and its need for additional operational funds, but they don’t support its need for both a training center and a facility expansion.

When the fire district attempts to increase taxes in 2004, we hope officials will better educate the public on what they need and why. We also hope the district will demonstrate a clear need for a training center and show that they’ve exhausted their options in using other training facilities or in collaborating with other counties for the construction of a regional training center.

People are certainly grateful for the protection provided by the fire district, but we need to be sure that tax dollars are spent on necessities, not facilities that may already exist and may not be needed.

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