• 27°

Danville is in Boyle County, isn’t it? Instead of complaining about city decisions, ask why county doesn’t provide more

By ELAINE WILSON-REDDY

Contributing columnist

I have been following the most recent dust up over the new City of Danville fire station. The usual suspects complain their usual complaints. My pet peeve is people who complain but offer no solution. Complaining is the easiest thing to do. It requires zero effort on the part of the complainer because they rarely back up their snivel with any facts (Real facts, not alternative ones).

The current fire station on Main Street is literally falling in. It is collapsing on itself. The people who work there not only put their lives on the line fighting fires, they also work in a building that is structurally unsafe. Raise your hand if you are willing to risk your life while sitting in your cubicle at work. No?

WKYT, a Lexington television station, did a story on May 15, 2017, about the 50-year old building. City of Danville Fire Chief Ken Pflug stated that there are poles holding portions of the building in place. He also showed the areas where fire trucks can no longer park as the danger of a truck collapsing into the basement is very real.

Over a year later, the location for the new fire station has been secured and the complaints are fast and furious. Why does the city need to spend that much money? Why doesn’t the city spend taxpayer money better? There are lots better places to put a fire station. Why don’t they put it _________ (fill in the blank)?

According to a September 29 article in The Advocate-Messenger, fire stations must be located within a certain radius of the primary population it is expected to serve. This location also determines homeowner insurance rates. Chief Pflug, City Manager Ron Scott, and City Engineer Earl Coffey looked at 14 potential sites before they agreed on the current site. The site on Main Street fit the criteria. You can thank them for not increasing your homeowner’s insurance rates.

Each time the City of Danville has taken on a new major building project, there is a collective rise of moaning and pearl clutching over spending money. This moaning and clutching presents an interesting paradox: Taxpayers want the best services, want their first responders well-compensated, and want the best fire trucks and technology. However, they want all of this without raising their taxes. Hmmmm …

This where my pet peeve kicks into action: I complained above. Now I offer a solution.

The City of Danville rests firmly in the belly of Boyle County. There is literally no way to look at a map of the city or county without facing that fact. City taxpayers pay city AND county taxes. According to a source I found online, 57 percent of the Boyle County population resides within the city limits of Danville. Do we, as taxpayers, receive 57 percent of the benefit of the fiscal court funds?

Every time a city first responder goes on a call, it is servicing a citizen of Boyle County. All fires, wrecks, arrests, speeding and reckless drivers that occur in Danville also occur simultaneously in Boyle County. Why does the county not use tax funds they collect from city residents to assist in funding city services that occur simultaneously in the county? Even if the county paid 10 percent of taxes collected from city residents to city first responders, it’s a 10-percent benefit we city people get back from our county taxes.

The City of Danville and Boyle County citizens pay federal taxes for which we receive federally tax-funded benefits. The same is true with state taxes. Danvillians and Boyle Countians pay state taxes and receive state tax funded benefits.

City of Danville citizens pay Boyle County taxes yet receive little to no reciprocal benefit.

Maybe it’s time to go to the fiscal court and ask for some of our money. They are notoriously stingy with spending so they will balk. But perhaps the time has come to ask what benefits we receive for the taxes we pay to the county. What better way to use those funds than on first responders?

G. Elaine Wilson-Reddy, JD, is a professional educator, consultant and advocate. She lives in Danville.