Last week in Part 1 of this article, I implied that you and I provide the dollars for fire service at our respective fire departments, but that is only a part of the story. Obviously, I can only speak with regard to the Marlinton Volunteer Fire Department. So, as Paul Harvey used to say, “now for the rest of the story.”
It has been the citizens of the Town of Marlinton who support the fire department by paying a fire fee with the help of approximately 388 others from outside our city limits who already voluntarily pay an annual fire fee.
These folks are to be commended.
Together, they have contributed to keeping an active department staffed, equipped and on standby for the next emergency call that we hope will not be yours. Fairness of service would pre-suppose a cost sharing of the same, but, that is not what is happening.
If you live or own property within the first reponse area of MVFD, thoughtfully consider the following facts:
Over the last three year period, 82 percent of calls come from outside the municipal limits.
Yes, MVFD is housed in Marlinton. Yes, we will continue to do everything we can to support them. But, the fact of the matter is, 30 Trained/Certified Specialist and $3 million worth of equipment – ready at your demand – are used out-of-town on 82 percent of the department’s calls.
For out-of-town fires, MVFD maintains a 1986 Tank Truck. The time is quickly approaching when that vehicle will have to be replaced. When that time comes, it will cost approximately $300,000 to replace it. FYI: The Town does not need a Tank Truck. Marlinton has a water system and fire hydrants.
More severe traffic accidents occur out of the town limits, and these accidents require special response equipment. In town, the possibility of needing a $30,000 jaws-of-life is remote. Note: Unless you are in the business of extracting bodies from a crash, you may not realize that new car designs often require new training, new equipment or some modification of extraction techniques.
Maintaining a Department with a Class V Rating is valuable to everyone who pays homeowner’s insurance within the first response area. If we were to lose that current rating, it would cost each of us more in premiums than a typical fire fee.
I believe the vast majority of folks who thoughtfully read this column will come to a similar conclusion – the town will be increasing its Fire Fee. If more people were paying, it would not have to raise as much. But, I want to know what you, in the community think.
Please mail or email your thoughts to:
709 Second Avenue,
Marlinton, WV 24954
email:townofmarlinton @ frontiernet.net
Also, while details are being worked out on how to proceed with the fire fee, if you would consider voluntarily paying now in support of your fire department, please do so.
Working together, we can Make a Difference.
Sam Felton, Mayor