opinion

Is Rhode Island wrong to spend so much on fire protection?

Posted 10/19/09

A recent study by the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council points out that the state spends more on fire protection per capita than any other.

And while the amount spent on fire protection is a relatively small amount of the state’s total expenditures, the state falls far behind most of the rest of the country when it comes to spending on higher education, highways, and natural resources, parks and recreation.

Should the state push harder for regionalization of fire protection resources to free up money for more spending on higher education? What do you think?

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william

The reasons for the high cost of fire protection have to be investigated. Two great examples of the fat are the Union rep for the Prov firefighters who is allowed by contract to take time off for union matters. Except he took 365 days off and got paid overtime for filling the vacancy on his truck. Second, the current situation in No Prov where firefighters called in sick since they did not like their temporary assignment when their truck was being repaired. It is no secret that Frank Montenaro, former AFL/CIO leader and a former firefighter, succeeded in passing fabulous legislation fatting the benefits for firefighters.

Thursday, October 22, 2009 | Report this
ethnographer

I think there is an accounting problem with the conclusion about the cost of fire protection. Normally one would think fire protection comes under public safety expense. And if so we maybe the highest for fighting fires. But our EMS is part of the fire department, and fire sengine rolls with every EMS call. EMS is a public health service. The RI accounting system, I understand, does not recognize EMS as a health expense but assign it to public safety. Other states make the distinction. So maybe we are comparing the RI apple to the national Orange. I would suggest the PBN check this out.

Thursday, October 22, 2009 | Report this
tomrjeff

The high cost of fire protection? Compared to what? No protection at all... To higher education... To rationalization... If the PBN could brake down the question to your tax dollars spent, such as the percentage of your tax dollar piece of pie for fire protection. Is it 80%, 60%, 40%, 20%? I am willing to bet it's around 10% of your tax dollar! On a $5,000.00 tax bill that’s $500.00 a year. Some volunteer fire departments bill their communities that and more in fire taxes or fire insurance tax every year for volunteer fire services. Without question there will always be areas we can improve upon these services. I feel the fire service is still and will continue to be a great value for our tax dollar.

Thursday, October 22, 2009 | Report this
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