Budgets Should Follow Priorities

editorial-logo3Many times it is difficult to know just how important our emergency services are until you, or a family member, needs them. The City and County budgeting cycles are well under way and soon enough the respective bodies will be calling for and justifying budget cuts. I hope that, this fiscal cycle, our governing bodies are more sensitive to the needs of the emergency services. First Responders- Fire, Police, E-911, EMS, EMA, Rescue Squad-they are the backbone of our community. They answer our calls and we need to make it clear as a community that we intend to answer theirs. For some unknown reason, these services always have one limb or the other on the fiscal chopping block. Yet, we fund other questionable requests with very little consideration or debate. In years past, I have sat in meeting after meeting while the First Responders are picked apart. The same can be said about charities. Certainly, there must be some checks and balances in budgeting and the County cannot have an open check book for every charity that requests a donation but we need to look at the service that is provided to the community as a whole and not who sits on what board when we make fiscal decisions that impact our entire community.

Last week, there was a fire in the house next door to me. The house is currently owned by family members and belonged to my late grandparents. I had just left a School Board meeting when the call came that the house was on fire. By the time I arrived on my street, there were multitudes of First Responders on the scene, fighting the fire, blocking roads and keeping the public safe. This is not the first time that I have witnessed them in action and it is not the first time that I have been thankful for the professionalism of those that are charged with keeping our community well and safe. This is certainly a case of you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone…or you need it. My hope is that you and your family never need their services but I fear that is an unreasonable high hook to hang my hopes on. Most people need these services at some point, either for themselves, their children, parents or perhaps their grandparents. It is not enough to just offer a pat on the back. We need to let our governmental leaders, on both the City and County levels, know that we expect our budgets to reflect our return commitment to these departments. There are places to make cuts, should cuts need to be made, but not in places that jeopardize the safety and well being of our community and the people that protect it. It is not enough to just say thank you for saving my home, protecting my family, reviving my grandmother or rescuing my child. We need to let our budget reflect our priorities and the government needs to put our money where our mouth is.

Source: K. Depew, News Director