To the editor:
An open letter to Mr. Szerlag"
I am in receipt of your letter sent to each Cape Coral property owner regarding the new "fire service assessment". I feel this is a significant tax for a single service while I am puzzled at your need for protection from the courts to validate your methodology. I am suspicious of the justification of tax because the "city paved neglected roads and previously reduced property tax rates by .25 mils."
Fees for firefighters appears noble enough. However, I will venture to say that firefighters seem to get a disproportionate share of sympathy from the public for their service; a sympathy originated from a time when firefighters were a team of volunteers. What is apparent, to any thinking person, is that nationwide the firefighters and their union representation use this "old school thinking" as leverage against the public they serve for negotiating ever- increasing wages and often exorbitant pensions not possible in the private sector.
A tax of this magnitude and for this specific purpose only opens the door and soon the flood gates to an endless "tax the citizen" opportunity for the sole benefit of these un-realistic pensions and union greed. It is done under the guise of benefiting the City employees, for public protection and for our brave firefighters. I am not discounting bravery BUT this term is used as an emotional ploy for the ongoing taking of citizen's incomes and that is not brave. If $64 in 2014 why not $640 in 2019 after unions keep pushing for more? This is about incomes, not protection.
The facts show that public employees most everywhere in our nation fight to avoid paying into pensions, retirement plans or benefits even when revealed that current obligations are unsustainable. While the rest of us must pay into our future, subsidize our insurances while working hard without expectations of the generous pensions available to the government sector. For this fact, you cannot expect sympathy. In fairness, I also blame us, the public, after decades of apathetic citizens who rarely have considered how these costs are funded.
I will pay my bill prior to the due date but under protest as this tax smells of an open check book for union greed. Following will be an official request for the firefighter budget with wage detail via the freedom of information act. I am sorry I had to even take the time for this letter but another city (its taxpayers actually) being muscled into creating new taxes makes me furious.
vacant land owner