Divorce Lacey Style

May 15th, 2008 by Ken

We knew it couldn’t last.  We knew that the relationship between the City of Lacey and Lacey Fire District 3 was bound to fail.  Now, the City of Lacey has accused the Fire District of mismanagement and has sent them a letter spelling out just what they’ve done wrong.  The city response was to a letter from the Fire District requesting  that the City of Lacey pony up more than a million dollars, if it wanted to keep the Willamette Fire Station opened and operating.

We have to go back a few years to understand the divorce.  The City of Lacey has always contracted with Fire District 3 for fire services.  A few years back, when the Fire District found itself in financial trouble, the city stepped in and bailed them out, giving them more money than the existing contract called for.

Then the Fire District and the City joined forces and put two measures on the ballot to fund new facilities and new equipment.  Both the Fire District measure and the City of Lacey measure passed, raising more than $10 million.  But, in agreeing to put a bond issue before the people, the City of Lacey demanded, and received ownership in the new facilities and the new equipment.  It was a marriage made in haste.

Because now, the Fire District is once again in financial trouble.  City officials accuse the District of mismanaging funds and point to a 20 percent pay increase for fire fighters as just one example.

Letters and accusations have flown, and tonight, at the Lacey City Council meeting, the problem will become public knowledge.

I knew it wouldn’t work.  Lacey is far more conservative with its money than is the Fire District.  

What’s the answer – – who knows.  Some compromise will be reached.  Because now both parties need each other more than ever.  That’s D.I.V.O.R.C.E – Lacey style.

Posted in Government, The Real News

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