Okay, I get it. It’s tough times financially for governments as well as people. And for whatever reason, Gene Cranick of rural Obion County, TN didn’t pay the requisite $75 to the city of South Fulton to allow South Fulton firefighters to save his home. (No one was hurt, fortunately, but four pets were killed in the fire.)
But couldn’t there have been a better solution? Usually, when people do idiot things (and I’m not saying that aside from not paying his $75 annual fee, Mr. Cranick did anything that could be termed “idiot”) and need public safety personnel to come rescue them, they can be charged with the cost of services after the fact. Could not a similar arrangement be employed in this instance?
Certainly that cost would have been more than $75, but I think Mr. Cranick would have preferred that. And if, this is just hypothetical, Mr. Cranick decided after the fact to not pay for services rendered, the city of South Fulton could have sued him and collected from his wages.
At least, then, Mr. Cranick would still have a home today.
I’m vehemently opposed to any sort of pay-for-play (or in this case, pay-for-spray) public safety services, which is why I’ve been vocal in my support for repealing Montgomery County’s ambulance fee. If a municipality can’t meet its budget, raise taxes or cut non-essential services across the board. Don’t euphemize that because these charges will be billed to the insurance companies, ordinary citizens will never see them. Insurance companies have been known, from time to time, to pass along their costs to their subscribers.