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Firefighter volunteers a great Norwich bargain

When will Norwich officials learn?

Currently, taxpayers in the town district pay their own taxes, .32 mills for volunteer fire protection, and another $3,299,876 for the overbudget Norwich Fire Department, which directly violates the “Special Benefit” described in the City Charter. Volunteers protect 87% of Norwich (and 9 out of the 10 top taxpayers!) and handled 2,852 calls for only $642,980 last year, while the paid department covered 13% of Norwich with only 2,404 calls for $10,071,521.

The $3.29 million diverted from the Norwich Public Utilities contribution is supposed to go into the General Fund for all taxpayers to benefit from, not diverted to lower the City Consolidated District fire tax. Considering the recent Fire Study described the volunteer fire service routine performance as "an impressive feat," and in 2017 taxpayers voted by a 20% margin to purchase five new trucks for volunteers, its obvious taxpayers trust the volunteer service. Shifting more money is as big of a waste as hiring a new "fire administrator" that we just do not need.

The Norwich volunteers provide a proven, cost effective, and professional service that works independently. It is way past time to focus on the budget in the CCD fire department.

Gregory Stott

Norwich

 

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