If the city does not provide superior services then why should it exist at all? The current debate over the county’s proposal to take over Canton’s fire department boils down to the age old question of cost versus quality.
Last week County Manager Jerry Cooper made the statement, “This will save the Canton taxpayers millions.” That is true. It is also true that we could, “Save Cherokee County taxpayers millions” by selling the expensive new office building and moving the county offices into trailers.
Both statements carry the same amount of ridiculousness and superficial short-term thinking.
Have you read the county’s proposal? Have you compared what they are offering to what we currently have? Why do you think they so desperately want Canton’s fire department? Remember the Bobo Boondoggle?
The proposal states that the goal will be an average response time of under eight minutes. Canton’s consistently proven response time is less than five minutes and is usually closer to four minutes.
The myth that the county will somehow pay for the new fire stations is exposed. Canton’s SPLOST funds will pay for the new stations as stated in the proposal.
There is no guarantee that the downtown station will remain open.
There is no mention of the Bluffs station whatsoever.
Part of the proposal includes Canton giving away it’s $4 million worth of fire equipment along with a two-year cancellation clause. Yes, they want us to hand over every dime’s worth of taxpayer paid-for assets and to agree that they could simply cancel all fire protection for the city with a two-year notice.
They clearly state that Canton’s hard earned ISO rating of 4 could be diminished to their inferior rating of 5/9. It is stated that Canton’s superior equipment will be spread throughout the county.
The hot potato of the senior exemption would remain Canton’s problem to deal with even though the city would be completely out of the fire business.
The county will simply bill the city once a year for 3.394 mils of our total tax digest; and that is just the first year. Most years the county raises taxes — most years the city does not.
Yes, we do pay a premium to live in the city and we receive superior services for our money. Last year when a small and short lived movement was started to dissolve the city, we discovered that the total premium cost to be a city resident was about $150 a year per $100,000 of property value. If the city does not provide superior services then why should it exist at all?
Cherokee County has a very good county fire service. However, fire protection in the large, spread out Cherokee County is vastly different than fire protection in the tightly, compact city of Canton.
I will not be a participant in the diminishment of Canton‘s obligation to protect its citizens to the highest possible level.
Giving away the fire department would not only be a step backward in life/safety, it would also be a step forward in the reduction of our city to that of the county’s lowest common denominator.
Canton City Council member