Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Open forum: Rockville should support volunteer firefighters

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It’s time that the city of Rockville support our local volunteer firefighters and their lifesaving mission.

To date, the city of Rockville only provides water service to the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department, which has an annual value of $6,000. No other support has been offered.

At a recent mayor and council session, I testified that the tireless heroes of the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department should share in the public safety revenue windfall from speed cameras that Rockville will enjoy in upcoming years. That revenue is estimated between $3million to $5 million annually, when the system is fully in place.

In addition to other public safety measures, such as better street lighting in crossing areas, more sidewalks, traffic calming infrastructure and much needed pedestrian⁄bicycle bridges, using speed camera revenues to help the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department offset its public safety expenditures is the right thing to do and will have no impact on Rockville taxpayers.

Events like the terrible loss of life in Charleston, S.C., where nine firefighters gave their lives in their efforts to save others, remind us that we need to support those who risk making the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our community.

Drew Powell, Rockville

The writer is a candidate for mayor of Rockville. The race is nonpartisan.