Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Fire Company Budget Cuts . . . Supervisors's Holiday Drive. . . What's the Status?

There has been much discussion and debate since the last Board of Supervisor meeting on December 21 and the presentation of the $23,200 contribution check to the Berwyn, Paoli and Radnor Fire Companies. I have been very surprised by the outpouring of dialogue from the community in regards to the fundraising efforts of township Supervisors Kampf, Lamina and Olson and then the follow-up letter in the local paper penned by Supervisors Lamina and Olson.

The first Supervisor Meeting of 2010 is in a couple of days, this Monday, January 4. I would suggest that prior to that meeting that you take the opportunity to read through Berwyn, Paoli & Radnor Fire Departments . . . Where’s the Money? (Or, . . . How Do You Cash a Cardboard Check?) posting and its 19 comments and also the Supervisor Lamina’s Explanation of the Fire Company Contribution posting which contains Supervisors Lamina and Olson Letter to the Editor and 7 comments. Question – Is it OK to Fund Township Budget With Political Party Contribution? posting along with the 24 comments.

  • Do you think that the public can expect an update from the Board of Supervisors about the fire company contributions?
  • Do you think that the Firefighter Holiday Drive’s list of contributors should be made public?
  • Other than Supervisors Kampf, Lamina and Olson, can we expect a public statement from the other 4 supervisors concerning this matter?
  • Three new members of the Board of Supervisors will be sworn in on Monday; will we know their opinion on this rather unconventional approach to ‘making up’ the fire department’s contribution reduction?

Personally, I would like resolution on the open questions concerning the contribution and the process to ensure that the fire companies actually receive the money. Again for record, there has been no response from Supervisors Kampf, Lamina and Olson to my emails on the subject of the fire company’s contributions. Supervisors Kampf, Lamina and Olson’s lack of response aside, the 3 newly elected supervisors used better communication with the public as part of their campaign platform. After their swearing-in on Monday night, I will look forward to an open dialogue with these elected officials. (Supervisor DiBuonaventuro continues to be responsive to all my questions and concerns!)

I do have a suggestion for the fire companies which could be helpful to the residents. I would ask that when they give their regular financial and service updates at the Board of Supervisors meetings that the fire departments include a status on the ‘Holiday Drive’ contributions.

In review of the many thoughtful comments from residents on the subject of the fundraising efforts of Supervisors Kampf, Lamina and Olson, I thought it would be useful to provide a sampling of the comments that I have received:

From Doug of Berwyn,

Just to be clear, I think we’re all still waiting to hear what the process will be for collection of this money. Just the basics: Who?, What?, Where?, When? How? would be helpful whether it’s 2009 or 2010.

I understand answering these questions on the 21st would have limited the Shock Doctrine effect, but at some point answers would be good.

From CJ of the Main Line,

The real issue and the only one that should be focused on is that there was cuts to the fire company by the township. This should be the focus.

The supervisors decided to cut the fire company money. I refuse to believe that the ‘donation’ was a solution. Since when does private contribution override appropriate utilization of tax dollars for the benefit of the community as a whole?

From Kate,

Last evening did not address the long term needs of the fire company and did nothing but provide a nice little show for those who wanted it and for those few, naive residents who still feel that private donations are the optimal way to fund a basic township necessity. Furthermore, listen to some of the businesses that donated in this “rescue effort.” Did anyone notice how most of them were NOT Tredyffrin businesses? So now Radnor and Easttown businesses as well as EASTTOWN TOWNSHIP are subsidizing Tredyffrin’s inability to fund a vital service. This township should be embarrassed, I know I am as a resident.

From Samuel in Berwyn,

Bottom line the township got credit for ’saving’ the fire companies and restoring their funding. Will they make good on that promise? If they want to maintain that credit then they can cut checks with the Tredyffrin logo on them to Paoli, Berwyn, and Radnor for the 5% that was cut. If they don’t do this, their claim of restoring their funds is falsehood.

From Michael of Strafford,

How do you feel about our elected officials in Tredyffrin going into Easttown and Radnor Townships to solicit funds without advising their elected officials or Township Managers in those towns of their actions? Did they get permits or permission to solicit? Better yet, were the fire companies asked for guidance on how they should go about soliciting funds on their behalf?

Was a surprise cardboard check presentation the appropriate way to deal with this? Why is this getting pushed off on neighboring municipalities?

From Roger of Berwyn,

Where’s the list of donors? Also, how many of the businesses who contributed do business within Tredyffrin? Question: If a business which does business in Tredyffrin and possibly has a contract with the Township or requires permits, etc. on a regular basis is asked by SITTING SUPERVISORS for donations to the fire company, isn’t this really a forced “fee” or “tax” on these businesses? But we can’t raise taxes, right? It’s the responsibility of the residents and the fire companies to have pasta dinners and turkey raffles. I just hope when my house is on fire the firefighters aren’t serving pancakes to make a couple bucks.

Let’s get this information out in the open, or should our local government continue its attempt to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes. I’m still wondering how that huge check is going to fit in the deposit drawer at the bank.

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