Our safety is on the line
This election is indeed as important as they come. Who will be our next president? United States Senator? State Representative? Will the medical marijuana law be expanded? And for all the residents in Navarre and Holley, the life safety issue is will we vote yes to raise the fire-assessment fee for the Holley-Navarre Fire District?
It is easy to vote ‘no’ with the strike of a pen when it comes to spending more money – but in this case a ‘yes’ vote is critical to the future of HNFD.
And bottom line, during a house fire or a medical emergency, it could mean the difference between life or death and minimizing damage or total destruction of our home or business.
When it all gets totaled up, realistically we are talking about spending in a year less than what most of us pay monthly for our cell phones. And this money is on a different level of importance than our cell phones. In the same way that we voted ‘yes’ to a half-penny sales tax for infrastructure needs, we should vote ‘yes’ to strengthen the infrastructure of the fire district.
The area served by HNFD has grown exponentially for sure. Since 2010, the last time HNFD asked for a rate increase, our population has doubled and the arrow continues to ascend on population. Serving more people with the same amount of staff is getting more and more difficult as more people move to our area.
During our population boom many of our services increased. We have more restaurants, more shopping choices, grocery stores, more traffic lights, more doctors and medical options, and more of a lot of other things too. We have even seen more Santa Rosa Sheriff’s deputies in our area as the years have passed. The one thing we have not seen more of however is firefighters. It is remarkable what they have been able to do with so few.
We could compare it to a hospital that staffed three medical assistants per shift for 60 patients, and then when the hospital expanded and had 120 patients, they still only staffed three medical assistants per day to care for twice the people. In the case of the fire department, we have at any point in time five firefighters taking care of all of Navarre, Holley and north to the Yellow River. Those five trained professionals are protecting 46,000 people and responding to their emergencies, on average about 276 per month. The five people total per shift need a little help. That is what this referendum is about.
Let’s take a look at some facts and myths about the increase:
MYTH: Money from the half-penny sales tax increase is going to fund fire departments and buy firetrucks.
FACT: HNFD will not see or benefit from any of the half-penny tax. The $1.5 million mentioned in the half-penny for firetrucks is not a sure thing and will almost certainly not be spent in our fire district.
MYTH: If HNFD needs more money, they should just ask the board of commissioners for more money in their budget.
FACT: The Board of County Commissioners does not fund HNFD, nor do Santa Rosa County taxpayer dollars. Only the fire-assessment fees collected in the fire district served by HNFD fund the district.
As a community, let’s do the right thing and vote ‘yes’ on the Holley-Navarre Fire District referendum.