The City of Asheville had to hire three firemen to keep its certifications up. It had (at least) two options for funding:
1) It could make a budget amendment, but this would reduce the fund balance. The cityâ€™s budget is already stretched, sponsoring programs for education and outreach, hosting luncheons for city partners, supporting charettes and neighborhood visioning, and commisioning studies of studies. Itâ€™s an election year, so talk of raising taxes is not an option.
2) The federal government has a program with the warm and nurturing name of SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response). It makes available grants from the US Department of Homeland Security for assistance with staffing local fire departments. Running a debt of $8,981,741,791,037.95 (Click here for the current amount.), the federal government would make a sound business partner.
The only string attached is that the city would have to join NIMS (National Incident Management System, also of the DHS), which it already has done. NIMS is not unlike any other form of central control. It imposes standards of inter-agency uniformity with a certification process. It eliminates the need for individuals to think and act intelligently. Further, standardized McResponse Strategies and standardized McEquipment, puts all our eggs in one handy basket for simplified terrorist takeover.
Only Option #2 was presented to council, and only Dr. Carl Mumpower voted against the â€œabsurdity.â€ Robin Cape and Mayor Terry Bellamy explained that local fire departments are now the first line of defense in Homeland Security.