It's time that our elected officials start dealing with funding for special fire districts and stop passing the buck. Rural fire districts receive no money from the state or any other government agency to help with operating costs. I am offended that Stanislaus County Chief Executive Officer Richard Robinson considers it "backfill funding" to ask for help from the county for continual fire protection for taxpaying citizens.
Elected officials have forgotten that rural residents pay the highest taxes for fire protection of anyone in Stanislaus County, only to be under the continual threat of station "blackouts."
The Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department is compensated for providing service to Woodward Reservoir, as it should be; why would the fire district be treated any differently? ("Agencies turn up heat on fire talks," Aug. 7, Page A-1.) Collecting a small fee from each vehicle that enters Woodward Reservoir is a minimal price to pay for a rapid emergency response from the responsible fire department.
Rural residents fulfill their end of the bargain by paying taxes; the county needs to fulfill its end of that bargain by making sure these special fire districts have what is needed to continue operating without the fear of station blackouts, layoffs or permanent closures.