Thanks for the info about the Destin fire district trying to uncap the millage rate.  I think it is akin to letting a 500-pound ape loose in a room for no reason, so I would have to vote NO if I was allowed.

However, there are a few questions I would have asked Chief Kevin Sasser.

First of all, an important disclosure: I am with a fire department, and I sell trucks and equipment to fire districts for a living. Our volunteer department has seven stations and makes 2,100 runs per year.

Here are my questions.

If cuts are to be made, what would they be? 

As property values have declined (though they are beginning to come back up based on sales prices), why do they need to do this in the first place? 

If fire taxes go up, how much will the ISO fire rating go down for a net tax versus net insurance premium cost comparison?

I was in Destin over the weekend, and saw firemen training inside the apparatus bay, which costs nothing since they are there anyway.  I also saw an aerial truck parked at a local eatery around lunchtime.  Don't they have a kitchen at the hall?  And at 3 miles per gallon, why would they need to take such a big truck to lunch?

There are ways to save money at any department.  I don't think the Destin Fire Control District has explored these options.  I would suspect it would cause the union members to whine if they couldn't go out to lunch.

I also object to the Log’s continued use of "professional" when referring to paid departments. There are many volunteer departments nationwide with highly trained personnel, often more than a nearby "professional" department.  In short, all recognized fire departments are professional. They are either paid, volunteer or paid on call.  That is the terms FEMA uses to classify departments. 

Please don't slap the “vollies” around with the "professional" comment.  After all, many volunteer firefighters do training classes for the paid firefighters.

I hope you'll be able to find out what services would be cut so voters have a clear choice.  They might cut out lunches on the run to start with and use a delivery service and see how that plays with local voters.

John Almon
Columbia, Tenn.