Twentynine Palms – The city counsel has been very slow in accepting responsibility for public safety. Without County and Base Fire coming to the rescue, 29 Palms would be in deep trouble. The City has de facto shifted its obligation of public fire safety to County Fire & Base Fire.
The city is living in the past and not in the present. For decades, the TPWD took care of everything. They can no longer do that. Fire Chief Thompson news story on the devastating Sunday fire in 29 palms is an example of how an underfunded fire department is struggling to protect the public.
The city is obligated to use money intended for public safety to help fund a severely down-sized fire department that is looking at bankruptcy in its future. The fire department is not able to satisfy its mutual obligations with other fire districts. The city council is resistant to spending tax dollars where they are “intended” and “most needed.”
City Council has been sitting on their hands for awhile, and they may miss an opportunity to make a “big leap forward” on public safety. If the city were to use property tax money it receives from the county for what it is intended for, it could help to fund the fire department and show water ratepayers some good faith in the city accepting responsibility.
The city needs to work with the fire department and water board. It receives property taxes from the county to provide for the general welfare and safety of the public. If the city would help fund fire services, it wouldn’t be so much of a “bitter pill” asking water ratepayers for a property tax increase.
It is a reasonable thing for the city council to open up discussions on the best methods of helping to fund TPFD. That they ought to take charge by directing staff to report back on viable options and alternatives of yearly funding of the fire department . The entire Project Phoenix fiasco, including the city’s legal action against San Bernardino County and the State of California, has been a diversion from more important priorities that benefit the entire community.
For far too long, Project Phoenix has been a scourge upon the city. The city needs to get back to being a city for all the residents. A self-serving Staff needs to be bridled and restrained. Two recent staff reports recommended bleeding the city’s Reserve funds for non-priority projects. That is preposterous.
This would open the flood gates for more money to spend for an rapacious-like city council. The least the city can can do is offer assurances that public safety is a priority and fix the problem.
The city needs to help fund the TPFD. Forget about Project Phoenix and suing the county and state. The entire Project Phoenix Bond fiasco, including suing the the state, is diverting attention from a critical gap in public safety.
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