Our Village Board is completely oblivious. Despite being told by a two to one margin at a public meeting in ’08, to leave our EMS alone, despite the Town of Ulysses passing a resolution withdrawing their support, despite The Ulysses Supervisor and several council-persons writing a letter complaining of their plan, and lack of cooperation with the Town, despite the Town’s attorney telling them their plan was illegal, despite being given several epidemiological studies showing the risk, despite the disapproval of the president of the Fire Company, despite the fact that this will risk lives, decrease volunteerism, and increase insurance premiums, despite all this and more, they are going to vote to begin billing on Monday.
Deputy Mayor Debbie Nottke told the Ithaca Journal’s Aaron Munzer,
she expects the village board to vote billing into law at its April 11 meeting
Debbie Nottke is a recent convert to the dark side. She used to be against this. She was the only one to vote against a resolution to move forward towards billing last year.
What’s wrong with these people? The only argument they have is their erroneous claim that the people of Trumansburg are not willing to pay the rapidly escalating cost of our EMS. But it isn’t rapidly escalating. It is leveling off now that they have chased away the most dedicated volunteers and replaced them with paid staff. We now have such a high percentage of paid staffing, that it can’t get much worse. Even so, the cost is not unreasonable. Our current tax levy is $6.57 / thousand, and 20% of that is for fire and EMS together. 6.57 x 20% =1.31 http://www.trumansburg-ny.gov/docs/2010-11_budget_letter.pdf
I don’t have the cost breakdown within the Fire Company, but let’s assume that the lion’s share is EMS, or a dollar of the $1.31. So, if you live within the village, in a $100,000 home, you’ll owe $100/year for EMS. What’s all the panic about? This is a reasonable tax!
When they begin billing, we will move from an entirely nonprofit EMS, to one which allows the private, for profit health insurance industry to profit off of us. The cost to society will undeniably go up.
People love to complain about taxes, so here is an aspect of our taxes that makes more sense to complain about. War! The average US household income is about $100,000. This household pays $4757 for our current wars and other military expenditures. See how much you pay with this handy calculator http://rethinkafghanistan.com/iou/
So what makes more sense? Shall we fume about paying $100/year to save lives in our community, or shall we scream about paying 20 or 30 or 40 times that much to kill innocent people in the middle east?
Our shortsighted Village Board has such a weak argument in favor of billing, that they have to make stuff up. Here is a quote from Trustee Rob Cassetti thanks again to Aaron Munzer from the IJ
“There has been a flight out of the village because of the taxes. Long-term economic viability for the village depends on a vital population within the village.”
They say that our population is 1797 now. That’s a substantial increase from the last census and from their interim estimates. This seems like the kind of information that our Village Board ought to have, doesn’t it? What the hell is wrong with these people?