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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Tennessee house in ashes after homeowner 'forgot' to pay $75 fee
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39516346/ns/us_news-life/?GT1=43001 OK OK OK... so I understand its important to pay our bills, pay taxes, to work to pay off any outstanding debt one may have. But when do we decide that since someone didn't pay for the service of fighting fires, that your home is to burn to the ground and the animals of course wouldnt be rescued..

Now heres my other question:

Gene Cranick found himself experiencing the Tea Party’s proposed “government a la carte†when he didn’t pay the $75 surcharge to the South Fulton Fire Department. His house caught fire and the fireman did nothing to stop it. Cranick describes his ordeal to Countdown’s Keith Olberm
Is this really a tea party thing? I dont claim to be a member of such political group, but can someone explain to me the meaning and use for this type policy? Would it be in every public service handbook that if you fail to pay for this service yet need it then you will have to suffer and not received the help in which you require? If this is the case then thats one hell of a political group....
 

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No, not a "Tea Party thing", just your average schlock 'reporter' hit piece. I just finished a web-search and nowhere in the first 5 pages were there any mentions of 'government a la carte' except for where the Tennessee homeowner was mentioned prominently. Those mentions were about 75% of the posts. I'm thinking ... "latest leftist liberal talking point".
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Fallschirmjäger said:
No, not a "Tea Party thing", just your average schlock 'reporter' hit piece. I just finished a web-search and nowhere in the first 5 pages were there any mentions of 'government a la carte' except for where the Tennessee homeowner was mentioned prominently. Those mentions were about 75% of the posts. I'm thinking ... "latest leftist liberal talking point".
thanks for clearing that up for me.
 

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Considering that in the report that this fee has been standing policy for "about" 20 years, I'd say it pre-dates the tea-party movement by a few years... :p
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Paladin said:
Considering that in the report that this fee has been standing policy for "about" 20 years, I'd say it pre-dates the tea-party movement by a few years... :p
I agree with you on that as well. but the comment was they stated that the Tea Party approved of this type of servicing not that this was the policy they put into place. The only thing in this world that I would agree with that should be ala Carte is schooling. I'm 27 and don't have any kids. Then again schools can barely pay their bills and teachers as it is now, it would be a trajedy if only people who kids actually attend the schools pay the bills.
 

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I believe the privatization of most government services has long been a goal of the Libertarian Party. I don't think this necessarily means "a la carte" type menu of services so much as just having the government contract with a private service providers.

In Murray County, several years ago before the county had established a fire department, a private company provided subscription based services to county residents. I believe for some time after initial start-up the company would respond to fires whether the resident had purchased a subscription or not. Obviously, this business model didn't make it because providing service to non-subscribers only encouraged others to not purchase a service subscription.

Seems to me that a county subsidized volunteer fire department should at a minimum be a function of local government.
 

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To recap: This guy lived in an unincorporated area, so he paid lower taxes but had fewer services, such as no fire coverage. He chose to do this.

The nearest city offered fire coverage by the city's taxpayer-funded fire department if he would pay an annual $75 fee. He declined, again chosing to have no coverage.

Guess that $6.25/month for fire coverage is looking pretty cheap now, huh?
 

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TippinTaco said:
Paladin said:
Considering that in the report that this fee has been standing policy for "about" 20 years, I'd say it pre-dates the tea-party movement by a few years... :p
I agree with you on that as well. but the comment was they stated that the Tea Party approved of this type of servicing not that this was the policy they put into place. The only thing in this world that I would agree with that should be ala Carte is schooling. I'm 27 and don't have any kids. Then again schools can barely pay their bills and teachers as it is now, it would be a trajedy if only people who kids actually attend the schools pay the bills.
The whole tea party comment is gone from the story at the link
 

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My Father-in-law lives out in the county and has the Volunteer FD out there. $75 a year and they will respond to a call for the resident, and that's all they pay. If someone doesn't pay, they will respond if called. If the fire is on the property and the owner doesn't want their services they go away, if the fire crosses over they respond and do their thing and the owner of the property where the fire started is charged full price for the service. If a non-paying owner calls and wants their service they are charged full price as well.

So the $75 is cheap. they will also do things like fill a pool for a fee, fill a water tank for a farmer for a fee, etc...
 

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drtybykr said:
TippinTaco said:
Paladin said:
Considering that in the report that this fee has been standing policy for "about" 20 years, I'd say it pre-dates the tea-party movement by a few years... :p
I agree with you on that as well. but the comment was they stated that the Tea Party approved of this type of servicing not that this was the policy they put into place. The only thing in this world that I would agree with that should be ala Carte is schooling. I'm 27 and don't have any kids. Then again schools can barely pay their bills and teachers as it is now, it would be a trajedy if only people who kids actually attend the schools pay the bills.
The whole tea party comment is gone from the story at the link
That's not quite entirely true, the "tea party" comment is still in Mr Olbermann's recorded video and is still in the description of the video itself. Good thing video's harder to edit than typed words.
Like the cockroach, lies hate to be exposed to the light. How did such an unfounded opinion get in there in the first place? I wonder if MSNBC's Keith "thrills up my leg" Olbermann had anything to do with that?

If Mr Cranick of Obion County had 'forgotten' to pay his automobile insurance, the insurance company would not have covered him if he had an automobile accident.
If he had 'accidentally neglected' to pay his medical insurance, the insurance company would not have covered him for a hospital stay.

He HAD the opportunity, he weighed the risks and rolled the dice. The only fault I give to the fire department might be in them not offering to control the blaze if he had reimbursed them for the full amount.

NOT Mentioned in the story, and I DO wonder why it wasn't if Mr Cranick's failure to pay was just happenstance, was did Mr Cranick 'forget' to pay for any years previous to the blaze, or was this a once-in-a-lifetime moment of monumental frackup?
 

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Fallschirmjäger said:
If Mr Cranick of Obion County had 'forgotten' to pay his automobile insurance, the insurance company would not have covered him if he had an automobile accident.
If he had 'accidentally neglected' to pay his medical insurance, the insurance company would not have covered him for a hospital stay.
Exactly! Isn't that what TANSTAAFL is all about? What happened to being responsible for your actions (or in this case inaction)?
 

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Fallschirmjäger said:
If Mr Cranick of Obion County had 'forgotten' to pay his automobile insurance, the insurance company would not have covered him if he had an automobile accident.
If he had 'accidentally neglected' to pay his medical insurance, the insurance company would not have covered him for a hospital stay.

He HAD the opportunity, he weighed the risks and rolled the dice. The only fault I give to the fire department might be in them not offering to control the blaze if he had reimbursed them for the full amount.
Exactly! That was my thought too. He didn't buy the "insurance", but if he was willing to pay the full price of the roll-out, they could at least have provided the service. I can understand that they couldn't do it for $75 after the fact, but if they had said "5 grand, we'll save your place" it would probably be worth it!
 

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Exactly. Either pay the annual fee for the fire service (and hope you don't need it) or, IF your place catches fire and there are no lives in danger, you can choose to watch your place burn to the ground OR agree to pay whatever it costs at the time.

But then what happens if you're not home and the fire department can't reach you to authorize the charges?
Then should they let it burn?
I suppose so, given the way the law works over there and the longstanding policies that are well-known.

However, there should always be a duty to rescue human lives that is on all Fire / Police / Medical personnel who are on-duty and able to respond. Even across a county line. Even when the person hasn't paid his taxes.
Let the first responders do their duty first, and then worry about who pays for it second.

I'd be okay with the agency that attempted the rescue demanding compensation later, and suing if necessary to collect reimbursement for the costs of the rescue. If the homeowner can't pay, put a lien on his house that will have to be paid when he wants to sell it one day. Eventually the government will get their money back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Actually they lost 3 dogs and a cat in the fire. On another note, the guy told the fire Dept. He would pay the full price of what ever it costs to put the fire out. The fire chief told him no that if he allowed him to do that then no one would pay the $75 until they had a fire.

You guys ever read the Firefighter Oath:

I promise courage â€" courage to face and conquer my fears. Courage to share and endure the ordeal of those who need me.

I promise strength â€" strength of heart to bear whatever burdens might be placed upon me. Strength of body to deliver to safety all those placed within my care.

I promise the wisdom to lead, the compassion to comfort, and the love to serve unselfishly whenever I am called.
These firemen and possibly women broke their oath to do what they were hired to do. Yes this family didnt pay the $75 tax, I'll give you that. But put yourself in this families shoes.. In the economy we're in, what if YOU didn't have the $75 tp pay the bill and against your luck and odds, your home caught fire and everything you owned was inside that home? Just because you sit on the opposite side of the computer and stand firmly behind your political ties and beliefs, where does the compassion for a family that possibly couldnt afford the $75 fee go? why couldn't they just put out the fire and charge the family for full expense of the service, water, labor, clean up, gas, and the list could be a mile long? Yet you stand firm that all you wanted was your $75.. Lessons are to be learned by all but some of them are truly unnecessary. whats more amusing is some of you guys got more pissed off about the Tea Party being verbally tarnished than by this story in it self...
 

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Ol' Gene didn't forget to pay the county surcharge, he ""forgot"" to pay it. Hell, even the newspaper that's sympathetic to him had to put the word in quotes because they didn't want to tell a bald-faced lie.

Is there anywhere in the newspaper's account that Mr Cranick is penniless?
Why are we making the assumption that a man with three dogs and a cat has no discretionary income?
If a man cannot afford $1.40 a week, how can he afford to feed four animals?

I have great sympathy for the man, and I do wish that he could have hired the Fire Department on the spot to extinguish the blaze which consumed his house.
But.
I also understand and completely agree with what the Fire Department did and the reasons the South Fulton Mayor gave for declining Mr Cranick's offer. If people were allowed to "on-the-spot" hire the department to put out fires then no one would pay the $74 until they needed the service (that's just human nature; you don't buy a jet ski just because some year you Might decide to want to ride one). Unfortunately, fire and police departments have continuing budgets, they don't just exist and cease to exist in response to a singular circumstance.

Picture in your minds the following scenario, (only slightly exaggerated for effect, I assure you.)
A small rural county with one city having a population of 5 thousand living within city limits and with 5 thousand living outside city limits. Everyone within the city pays a tax to support a fire department. Everyone outside the city limits is offered a chance to pay but it's not mandatory. Everyone outside the city limits declines to pay, or "forgets".

From what I remember of my staff planning, it takes just under 5 people to man one position 24/7/365 and I haven't heard of a 1-man fire department yet. (just under 8800hrs a week v 2,000 man-hours per person).

If there are a grand total of 4 fires in the county on a given year, with one being outside city limits where the citizens have "forgotten" to pay for services until they're actually needed, that means 25% of the departments budget has just been expended for that one fire.
Now, as we said, fire and police departments don't just exist in a vacuum, called into being one moment and wished away in the next. So it's not just the singular blaze that our country living citizen is responsible for. No, he's responsible for a full 25% of why that fire department exists.
25% of every firefighter's salary
25% of every engine's pro-rated value
25% of the upkeep for the building, the engines, etc, etc, etc.
I would guess that 25% of the expenses for a fire department might be a decently substantial amount.

That was why the South Fulton Mayor was entirely correct in declining Mr Cranick's after-the-fact offer to pay. Mr Cranick wanted the fire department to exist in a vacuum and to pay for it only when it was convenient for him to need its services. Mr Cranick was perfectly free to go out and buy a fire truck and to hire people to man it, but he wanted it to exist for him yesterday and be ready for him today. And that's just not the way things work, sorry, Mr Cranick.

Imagine if the people living within the city limits had the same choice? How many of them would say, "Y'know, Gladys, we've been living in the same house for pert' near fifty years and ain't never had no fire. I say we "forget" about this bill and let everyone else int the city cover us for awhile."
or
"My baby daddy has neglected to pay for little Kneshia's orthodontia. Instead of paying this discretionary bill, I do believe I will take my chances, after all, I do live in an all brick building."

In the same circumstance of having four fires in one year, how much would each family suddenly be faced with instead of having the burden shared by the entire populace?
 

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update at Truecrimereport:

http://www.truecrimereport.com/2010/10/ ... s_down.php

Bob Reavis, chief of the Hornbeak Volunteer Fire Department, has come to the defense of the South Fulton department, saying Obion County government left it in an untenable situation. It's a classic case of limited government gone very bad. There are some things we all need, like police and fire protection, school and roads. But by allowing residents to pick and choose their own protection, the county left its fire departments badly underfunded, and forced firefighters to simply watch as a man's house burned down.
Forced? No, sir. Plenty of people go out of their way to do wrong. You'd think these firefighters might've gone out of their way to do what's right, damn the law!! :righton:
 

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Xiclotl said:
update at Truecrimereport:

http://www.truecrimereport.com/2010/10/ ... s_down.php

Bob Reavis, chief of the Hornbeak Volunteer Fire Department, has come to the defense of the South Fulton department, saying Obion County government left it in an untenable situation. It's a classic case of limited government gone very bad. There are some things we all need, like police and fire protection, school and roads. But by allowing residents to pick and choose their own protection, the county left its fire departments badly underfunded, and forced firefighters to simply watch as a man's house burned down.
Forced? No, sir. Plenty of people go out of their way to do wrong. You'd think these firefighters might've gone out of their way to do what's right, damn the law!! :righton:
Are you are suggesting that public employees, on publicly paid time, being paid by public funds, and using publicly funded equipment, should have volunteered equipment, funds and time that did not belong to them to help someone who had had not paid for those things? What if they had received a call to respond to someone who HAD paid the fee or who HAD paid their taxes?

What if, instead one (or several) person in the county not paying, it had been Everyone outside of the city limits? Would you force everyone living in the city limits to pay for fire protections for everyone living outside the city limits?

What if ... the next county over ""forgot"" to pay it's fire department, should Obion county be responsible for for fighting fires in Lake or Weakly that thought they didn't 'need' fire protection?

- Burning trash too close to a home.
- Leaving pets inside a home that is in danger of being caught on fire.
- Assaulting and battery towards another person.
- Failing or "forgetting" to pay a fee for services to be rendered.
There's a lot of fail there, but I'm not going to call 'Fail' on the part of the FD because they obeyed the rules and regulations that the citizens they serve put in place.

It's a tragedy and it's regrettable, but the County fire department did no wrong. Sometimes, when you gamble, you lose.
 

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If we're going to blame one department for not fighting a fire, then we need to blame all the fire departments in the county, including Hornbeak, Obion, Rives, Samburg, Troy, Union City, Woodland Mills and Kenton, as well as South Fulton. None of them came to Mr Cranick's rescue either.

Obion county is about 550 sq. miles. so figure 25x25 miles. With 9 departments that's about 61 sq mi (or an 8x8 mile square on average) for each department. Any department that really cared about people could have driven there in only a few minutes. Perhaps they didn't care either?
 

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Fallschirmjäger said:
If we're going to blame one department for not fighting a fire, then we need to blame all the fire departments in the county, including Hornbeak, Obion, Rives, Samburg, Troy, Union City, Woodland Mills and Kenton, as well as South Fulton. None of them came to Mr Cranick's rescue either.

Obion county is about 550 sq. miles. so figure 25x25 miles. With 9 departments that's about 61 sq mi (or an 8x8 mile square on average) for each department. Any department that really cared about people could have driven there in only a few minutes. Perhaps they didn't care either?
Well in that case, since none of them cared, then perhaps the counties surrounding that one should have responded. But since they didn't the counties further out? How about the next state over?

Dude should have paid his 75 bucks. period. can't not pay for a service then expect it.

NOW JUST TO PLAY DEVILS ADVOCATE

What if the above were a call for a intruder into his home, raping his wife and about to murder them, but he didn't pay a $75 police fee.

Or if he was having a heart attack next to the ambulance and EMT's but he didn't pay his $75 EMS Fee. Would it be ok for them to just sit and watch?
 
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