Monday, January 14, 2008

Two Ends of the Spectrum

Two items today show how far evolved some communities can be, and how far some communities have to go. First off we have this announcement from the pacific northwest: [see article in Whidbey News Times].

At Tuesday evening’s North Whidbey Fire and Rescue board of commissioners meeting, after several months of negotiations, a cooperative agreement for water rescue between the fire district and Marine Rescue Services was approved and signed..... Under the plan, [Marine Rescue Services] only charges to the fire district would be $30 per hour to compensate one of Aydelotte’s captains plus the cost of fuel for the boat.
John Aydelotte of Marine Rescue Services (Vessel Assist Whidbey Island) has truely broken some new ground here. He is going to get paid by a gov't agency to take up their slack. This is a sign of the evolution that years ago came to the ambulance industry, which I have argued we are similar to. Many communities around the country contract out ambulance service through a competitive bidding process. Officials of the North Whidbey Fire District recognized that paying Marine Rescue Services an hourly fee was a far better use of the tax payer's money, rather than bearing the cost of maintaining a 24/7 boat of their own.

Which brings us to the second item, which is a letter to the editor of The Log Newspaper. I blogged here a few days ago about this article. Now comes a reader's response, which reiterates the same tired arguments of free towing by a gov't agency (there is no free towing, just taxpayer funded towing and user funded towing).

So, one part of the west coast has embraced the commercial assistance industry so deeply that the community is willing to use taxpayer dollars to hire a private firm, while down south, the entrenched tax collectors of the Orange County Sheriff continue to tow every boat they can to justify their annual budgets.