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Let people decide fire funding

McDuffie County Commission Chairman Charlie Newton has taken the admirable position of refusing to raise taxes.

But that has also left him in a lurch when it comes to meeting some of the funding needs for the county.

Take, for example, the $137,000 request from County Fire Chief Bruce Tanner. That's the amount it will cost to fully staff the county's Station #1 -- the station that, combined with Station #2, covers 65 percent of the county's total call volume.

So why not leave it up to McDuffie County voters? A ballot question asking if voters would support a tax increase to fund better fire service makes sense. It takes the bulk of the political burden from the backs of commissioners and puts it on the shoulders of voters.

It's a proposal that has worked well in other counties -- Columbia County has done it twice in recent years, once for a new judicial center and once for enhanced police protection. And it's an option McDuffie's leaders should consider -- if they want to fund Chief Tanner's request.



Web posted on Thursday, August 12, 2004


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