In response to the grossly misleading Friday, October 2, WMI cover story "NO on Prop 428", I offer another perspective with indisputable facts from a local resident in support of Prop 428 and will address the disingenuous arguments “Dionne”, an admitted consultant made in the article:
• Prop 428 is not unreasonable. It is necessary to fund a public fire department which serves a growing population of up to 55,000 people during the high fire season and covers 440 square miles with just 5 stations. COVID-19 has caused a dramatic increase in population due to the exodus from Phoenix and California to our hamlet, placing greater stress on Timber Mesa’s capacity.
• The typical property tax increase that prop 428 would add is about $3.35 per month to dramatically increase Timber Mesa’s ability to train and service the White Mountain area. This is a small price to pay to receive highly trained, highly skilled, responsive medical care in these “uncertain times”.
• Claiming Timber Mesa is one of the most expensive districts per capita is utterly preposterous, Timber Mesa is one of the most efficiently run Fire Departments in the area! One of many examples is Pinetop’s Fire District which has an overall budget of $7.5 million. They receive an average of 1,100 calls per year which equates to $6,818 per call. Timber Mesa Fire Department has a budget of $13 million with an average of 5,500 calls per year. At $2,363 per call, Timber Mesa’s per call cost is roughly ONE THIRD the Pinetop call cost.
• Timber Mesa’s tax rate is $2.99 cents per thousand dollars of assessed valuation, Pinetop's is $3.17. By any metric, Timber Mesa is one of the most efficient and affordable. These numbers are public facts that can be easily verified, not lame false assertions designed to mislead the public by a paid consultant working on behalf of a poorly performing for profit ambulance service that does a woefully inadequate job – Show Low EMS.
• Timber Mesa really does need their own local training facility to best serve the community, here’s why. Fire units need a local training facility that is in the heart of their service area and does not require 30 minutes to arrive when calls come in during fire drills. The Jake Flake Training Center in Taylor is just too far out. The excessive distance compromises response times, plain and simple. If you have an urgent emergency, where do you want your crew traveling from, the heart of Show Low or almost 20 miles away in Taylor coming from the Jake Flake facility.
• Station's 15 and 19 sorely need renovations. Station 19 was recently acquired from the White Mountain Lake Fire District and it needs significant upgrades including larger bays for full size fire trucks and sleeping quarters for the staff who now occupy the station 24/7.
In closing, don’t believe the fake news paid propaganda peddler Dionne who grossly distorted the truth in a desperate attempt to deceive you into voting against an upgrade that will cost you so little and offer you so much value.
Your yes vote to approve this prop will greatly enhance the ability for Timber Mesa to serve you with quicker response times from staff trained with the very best resources. With the monthly cost to a typical property owner estimated to be approximately $3.35 cents a month it breaks down to roughly ten cents a day. I hope the residents voting on prop 428 feel that increasing Timber Mesa's ability to respond is worth a few cents a day, seems to be a tremendous value received for about 10 cents a day.
Navajo County Precinct Committeeman & C.E.R.T. Volunteer,
White Mountain Lake