Case made for fire station

Case made for fire station

There are 47 comments on the Evening Sun story from May 3, 2011, titled Case made for fire station. In it, Evening Sun reports that:

Alpha Fire Co. No. 1 representatives made their case for building a new fire station during a presentation to officials from Littlestown and surrounding municipalities last week.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Evening Sun.

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concerned

Westminster, MD

#1 May 3, 2011
Please no more taxes, This fire company has had a lot of money in its coffers for years why have they not kept upthier present facility. They charge well an excessive amount for a short trip to the hospital , $1275 a couple a years ago and don't participate in a major insurance companies payment, forcing the public to pay the rest out of pocket. People don't have jobs, and those who do can just about afford the gas to go to them. Please reconsider another tax on the homeowners of this area who are carrying all of this on their backs, there just isn't anymore to go around
bob evans

Millersville, MD

#2 May 4, 2011
A fire tax is still another tax
Question

Gwynn Oak, MD

#3 May 4, 2011
The whole town of Littlestown is not worth 3.5 million. Why should a fire dept cost this much. The town falling apart and now they want to raise taxes.
2 ways to look at this

Bloomsburg, PA

#4 May 4, 2011
supporting a volunteer fire department is a lot cheaper than a career fire department.
Common sense

Gettysburg, PA

#5 May 4, 2011
Why can't they leave well enough alone?? The old historic station is fine. They don't need to be keeping up with the Joneses. What we have now serves it's purpose just fine, there is no need to spend all that money just so they have a new place to hang out while waiting for the alarm to go off.
No More Taxes

Hanover, PA

#6 May 4, 2011
There's no more money to be taken from the people. Littlestown offers very few family supporting jobs, most who live in Ltown and have a job commutes, with gas prices, last years reassessment, and all the other taxes we pay there's not enough money to fund a new firestation. I understand Alpha's want of a new firestation, SAVES, and Penn have a new station but forcing the taxpayers to foot the bill is wrong. Sometimes tried and true methods of fundraising actually work, put on more fundraisers. Once a tax is put into play it will be just like any other tax, continously raised with no accountability. There's many other options for Alpha rather than taxing, fundraise, get a loan, apply for grants. Raising the amount of funds necessary is not going to be easy or immediate but it can be done, with hard work and dedication and time.
John

Ellicott City, MD

#7 May 4, 2011
All these fire depts. want is the newest toys and the biggest stations. ALL OF THEM. We need to band together and REFUSE any taxes or upgrades unless they are absolutley needed. Alpha is just jealous of the other depts. in the area.$1200 for a ride to the hospital? They can buy their own damn equipment!
Tony Clifton

Westminster, MD

#8 May 4, 2011
"The presentation also highlighted the increasing costs of equipment, training, and replacing vehicles, notably the $621,000 spent last year for a new pumper truck."

A pumper truck that wasnt needed, they had a front line engine and engine/tanker already. The engine/tanker would have done a fine job as a backup unit until the next due engine arrived. Dont give them any more money they are just going to waste it.
SCL

Gettysburg, PA

#9 May 4, 2011
Where to begin...Let's put some more FACTUAL information out on the table since everyone is jumping on the bash wagon except for one person above.

Concerned- You were transported to the hospital by the ambulance WITH an ALS unit on board. That is the reason for the high cost of your bill. Which compared to other nearby areas and jurisdictions is below average for the service you received. Two things I can offer you for your comments: 1) the money the FD does receive is split between the medic unit AND the FD. So the FD only sees a percentage of that money recooped. 2) The FD only receives billing money collected directly from insurance companies for transports to the hospital. If the ambulance doesn't transport to the hospital, it doesn't get any reimbursement for services. Reimbursement is something that is built into your insurance premium. If the FD doesn't collect it, it's just free money going back into their pockets. Not yours! Also if you have a problem with your bill or unable to pay a remaining balance after insurance, medicare or etc, did you happen to call the FD and speak with the EMS Supervisor? I'm going to go out on a limb but say the answer is NO. Explore all your options before ranting about the cost of the life saving services being provided to you during your emergency.

Common Sense- I would think that "common sense" would apply to some of the comments made by you but apparantly that went out the window. The original firehouse was constructed in 1886. That's the part where the rest comes out AND backs into when returning from calls and also where the bell tower sits. With a building that has been added onto numerous times and is THAT old bandaids are only going to last so long before reconstruction is needed. It's not a matter of keeping up with the Joneses. What is conceptually designed and planned is a facility that will serve the FD AND the community for the next 100 or more years. The is consideration for growth and the needs of our FD & town today and in the future. If we wanted to keep up with our neighboring departments the station would be EVEN bigger, probably not centrally located to best serve our population, and probably another $3million like theirs were. We're not here to compete with another FD station but get the best bang for the buck and keep it at as minimal cost as possible.
We are a VOLUNTEER department with career EMS. Yes it may seem to you that it is a hang out. In fact that "hangout" is what gets you some fo the fastest response times in Adams County for fire apparatus. Would you prefer your emergency apparatus have a response time of 2 minutes or 5 or more? Does it make a difference that fire double and triples in size every minute or that brain and/or heart muscle is lost every minute a stroke or heart attack victim is waiting for EMS with a medic unit?
moving on to part II......
bob evans

Washington, DC

#10 May 4, 2011
I'm thankful to all who volunteer its just poor timing
Yep

Troy, MI

#11 May 4, 2011
They want to keep up with Penn Township and Saves. Another 5 million dollar fire station. Here you go tax payers!!
living in L-town

Littlestown, PA

#12 May 4, 2011
Ever heard "You get what you pay for"? Sorry folks we don`t live in a tax free world, so if you know where one exists, why don`t you go there. Yes, it sucks that we may have to pay another tax, but I`d rather pay it and have the knowledge that the next time I need the fire or EMS they will be there. Maybe we should do like that place in Tennessee (I think it was there) The person didn`t pay their fire tax so the company let their house burn to the ground. I suspect the same people who complain about having to pay for any protection or for any type of medical service, are the same who would complain that Alpha didn`t get there soon enough!! As someone said before, if we didn`t have volunteers, we would certainly be having to pay much more for service in some other kind of TAX!!!
SCL

Gettysburg, PA

#13 May 4, 2011
Bob- Thanks for your support.yes it may be bad timing to some extent but, capital projects aren't getting any cheaper as time goes on and the economy begins to rebound.
We do numerous fundraisers a year to generate the revenue we do. Would you be surprised to know that 54% of Alpha's annual revenue comes from fundraising that occupys roughly 80% of our time? Would you be surprised to know that ONLY 8% of revenue comes from municipal funding from the five municipalities we serve, or roughly $58,600 for 2011? Fire Departments are only limited by their creativity to what fundraising ideas they may have. Not every idea works and some work better than others. Sometimes FD's have to join together for a fundraiser. Case in point: Alpha and Bendersville FD are conducting a joint sportsmans fundraiser in the fall. Numerous avenues and resources must be utilized to get all avilable funds out of them to be used not only for daily operational expenses, but for future planning and capital projects.
Alpha intends on using a vast majority of its reserve and own money toward the construction of a new station. It would be assinine to think otherwise. Yet we also need to keep enough back to maintain daily operations and apparatus replacement to not go "building broke" and then revert to asking for more money. That is why it is vital to plan and construct a building that will not only meets the needs of the department and community now, but for many years to come. The need for expansion shouldn't even be an issue if planned properly. We are not asking the municipalities to pay for 100% of a new building, but we are asking them to be accountable to HB 1131-1134. What those state laws refer to (depending on the type of municipality & size you are) is to ensure adequate funding and support of the emergency services in your local jurisdiction which by law you are bound to provide in some form to your residents. In short terms what is the desire for funding? To get that 8%($58,600/annually) out of a projected $700,000 revenue up closer to 35-38%(or $250-270K annually) depending on final costs of a new station as well as some other factors.
Would it surprise some that Alpha has a payroll of over $175,000 annually to provide a service that most think is volunteer or free? This is relatively cheap in payroll compared to neighoring departments that staff ambulances. We rely on a combination of career staff AND volunteers to staff our ambulances. But guess what, our fire trucks are still staffed 100% by volunteers at NO COST!
SCL

Gettysburg, PA

#14 May 4, 2011
What is Alpha jealous of? I've been pondering over that statement for awhile and can't quite come up with an answer. We don't duplicate the services of neighboring departments that we can utilize through mutual aid. Do you see a million dollar + ladder truck sitting in our station when we are surrounded by them? Do you see excessive equipment, apparatus, or anything else that is not needed to ensure we have the resources and equipment needed to respond and mitigate a 911 emergency? We rely on other departments to assist us numerous times for manpower, equipment, and resources.
As far as E202 (the shiny new pumper) there was some debate about its purchase. I'll go on record and say there was debate within the department about it. Everyone knows that. But what some people fail to realize is this: PLANNING. Our "frontline" engine at the time, E201, was 12 years old. The engine/tanker is 22 years old, and the rescue is 17 years old. We look at the life expectancy of our apparatus, how we maintain them (very well I might add), how they are used, etc. In planning ahead 5, 10,& 15 years we will see the need not only for a new station, but for each of those pieces to be replaced. Would it be good planning to sit back as status quo and let the firetrucks go because they are running good now? Or would it might behoove ourselves to invest in a new, safe , quality firetruck knowing that within a few to couple years we will be building a new multimillion dollar station AND having to replace 3 firetrucks at a MINIMUM of $2.5 MILLION. Good planning and financial responsibility comes to play a lot
I'll close with this last statement and example. Alpha currently conducts two solicitation drives a year of 5,000 mailings each (10K total). We receive a return of roughly 10-12% of them totaling $60K for the year (between the two of them). One of the proposals to the municipalities was if an increase in funding was received no more solicitations would be conducted to our residents (double dipping if you will). EXAMPLE ONLY: If the municipalities enacted an annual $20/RESIDENT tax, fee, whatever you want to call it this week Alpha would be set to receive $230,640 in annual funding from the municipalities. This in no way would stop us from continually to conduct the numerous fundraisers we do, but would add to the secure funding we do recieve. As tough as things are financially for me personally, I would jump at the chance to cough up $20 a year to ensure I had 24/7 fire and ems coverage. That comes out to $1.67/month. You can't beat that for continued public safety coverage.
As always Alpha greatly appreciates the support we receive from the community because that is why we are here: to serve the residents of Littlestown and the surrounding areas in the arena of public safety. We are always looking for volunteers in ANY capacity. Stop by and look at our firetrucks, ask what services we provide, see what it takes for a FD to operate operationally and administratively, ask questions, comments, ideas, and concerns. And as always stay safe.
SJR

Hanover, PA

#15 May 4, 2011
John wrote:
All these fire depts. want is the newest toys and the biggest stations. ALL OF THEM. We need to band together and REFUSE any taxes or upgrades unless they are absolutley needed. Alpha is just jealous of the other depts. in the area.$1200 for a ride to the hospital? They can buy their own damn equipment!
Go ahead stupid, refuse, then when they refuse to respond to help people in need, what will you say then? They are volunteer, meaning they have NO OBLIGATION whatsoever to respond and help.

Since: Mar 11

Gettysburg, PA

#16 May 4, 2011
SLR, if I may with the exception of Post # 15, you presented everything in what I believe is a very professional and logical way. I do hope that you are in fact an officer in the organization and are making the presentations to the public.
Question

Gwynn Oak, MD

#17 May 4, 2011
living in L-town wrote:
Ever heard "You get what you pay for"? Sorry folks we don`t live in a tax free world, so if you know where one exists, why don`t you go there. Yes, it sucks that we may have to pay another tax, but I`d rather pay it and have the knowledge that the next time I need the fire or EMS they will be there. Maybe we should do like that place in Tennessee (I think it was there) The person didn`t pay their fire tax so the company let their house burn to the ground. I suspect the same people who complain about having to pay for any protection or for any type of medical service, are the same who would complain that Alpha didn`t get there soon enough!! As someone said before, if we didn`t have volunteers, we would certainly be having to pay much more for service in some other kind of TAX!!!
How about all the renters who DO NOT PAY TAXES. Do we just let all the apartments burn down. I am sure they can find another way to raise money. Taxes are not the answer in this down economy. Plus gas is going up and food is going up ect. Plus our fire dept is one of the best in PA, I am sure if they put thier heads together they can find another way. Or maybe even wait a couple of years until the economy gets better.

Since: Mar 11

Gettysburg, PA

#18 May 4, 2011
Question, this down economy is one of the problems. Unfortunately, the fire departments in Adams County are volunteer, and depend on contributions to survive. When people have less money to spend, in most cases the first thing they stop spending on is volunteer contributions. For this reason the contributions to most organizations that depend on these contributions get less and less. And I must say also that many people are contributing the same amount now that they were contributing ten years ago. As you pointed out the cost of everything is going up and these organizations canít continue to survive on the same amount of money they received ten years ago.
jmho

United States

#19 May 4, 2011
SJR wrote:
<quoted text>
Go ahead stupid, refuse, then when they refuse to respond to help people in need, what will you say then? They are volunteer, meaning they have NO OBLIGATION whatsoever to respond and help.
Well... there is an OBLIGATION...
Opinion

Hanover, PA

#20 May 4, 2011
SLR diod a great job but than in a way tries to bash another company about a purchase. Isn't this about Alpha not nieghboring companies that already went through this.

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