Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Commissioner spins a Yarn?

Recently an email was circulating based upon the recent article in the DRW magazine by Commissioner Curran in which some comments invoked a strong rebuttal by Cooper City civic activist Ed Wooley. Below you will find his comments published with his permission.

Commissioner Curran’s article sounds like the story put out by the fire tax lobby.

I think that the commissioner is way off base in saying that the taxes we pay to the county, when allocated to BSO, are only used by certain specialized central functions of BSO. They go into the county's general fund and then a percentage goes to the BSO, just as they do in Cooper City.

The county has to fund the total BSO budget that is not funded by the local contracts, any state and federal sources, etc. If, as widely reported, BSO is losing money on its local municipality contracts, then that has to be made up largely from county ad valorem and other taxes/fees of the county that we all pay, including folks and businesses in Cooper City.

Also, his (Commissioner Curran) argument that the city strategy has been to hold down the ad valorem tax rate in Cooper City, while shifting the revenue burden to "users" of individually incurred services and events, doesn't stand up to a little critical thinking and judgment. Evidently, he, Mayor Eisinger and Commissioner Green think that this is fair and equitable.

The Cooper City has been regularly shifting funds out of W&S (Utilities Dept.) and the other enterprise activity profits to the city’s general fund that pay for most governmental services including BSO.

Where is the "user fee' connection between EMS transportation, fire inspections, etc., on the one hand and an individual family's use of water? Where is the fairness and equity in that? Kind of like saying "I'm doing you a favor by not taking more money out of your right pocket because I'm taking more out of your left pocket". It’s the same pair of pants.

Commissioners Curran, Green and the Mayor have all voted to raise the various fire fees/taxes by very large percentages WITHOUT ONE SHRED OF INFORMATION as to the actual costs of such services. That is, for instance, what is the actual added cost of transporting someone from anywhere in Cooper City to Memorial West, turning him over to the hospital staff and returning to the fire station?

No one knows, evidently, because if they had the data and it supported an $850 fee, they would have shown it. It is altogether likely that no one on the commission has either seen such information or, if they have, they do not wish to provide it to the residents.

To think that using 3 paramedics for an hour, a few supplies and a little more gas costs an additional $850 is beyond any kind of stretch. Let's see, that would be about $283 per man-hour! Plus, we have already paid their salaries for their shift to begin with-----whether they make a transport or not! Put another way, on an annual 1,800 hour work-year that would be AN ADDED $509,400 per man-year for each of the 3 paramedics.

This is just price gouging by a monopoly for which the public has no practical alternative. A true monopolistic mentality.

Then, to try to justify it by saying, in effect, that other monopolies in the county are engaging in the same behavior is, frankly, silly and intellectually insulting.

Ed Wooley
Cooper City Resident

Link to DRW article:

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