Thursday, May 16, 2013

Westfield Fire District Budget Passes

Voters in Westfield  approved a 1.86% increase in the mill rate at the annual Fire District vote on Tuesday.  The budget for the coming fiscal year will be $1,348,906, with a mill rate of 1.260.

Voters also approved the Fire District entering into a contract to purchase a replacement for #3 Rescue vehicle.

Both votes were 31-0.


Anonymous said...

What a joke! How many of the Westfield Residents voted? How many knew about the vote? And, how many had enough notice to show up at the Firehouse at 8:00PM? This district needs an absentee voting system!!

joseph getter said...

Good point, anon. The turnout was bad. According to this post on The Middletown Insider, at another Westfield Fire District vote this year, 308 votes were cast, about 10 times the participation of this vote.

Stephen Devoto said...

Joseph, the 308 votes were cast in the South Fire District election of commissioners. At least two differences between South Fire and Westfield Fire account for the different levels of voter turnout.

The South Fire District balloting occurs over the course of the day, there is no gathering of all voters in one room for discussion and voting. Turnout is one value to consider in an election, but it is not the only one. I have participated in numerous Westfield Fire District votes, and I see value to having all voters in the room to discuss and debate in person before voting. This is what is done in the Vermont town hall style of voting, and I don't think anyone would call their version of direct democracy "a joke".

In addition, the South Fire budget generates much more controversy than the Westfield budget. Westfield is primarily a volunteer fire department, and its mill rate is about 5 times lower than South Fire. Westfield residents are generally extremely satisfied with the service and value that our Fire Department provides. I have no doubt that if there were discontent with the Westfield Fire Department, the turnout would rise.

joseph getter said...

Thanks for the clarifications. For the record, I did not use the word "joke" or intend to characterize the vote as a joke; rather, one of the (unfortunately) anonymous commenters wrote that. When I wrote "good point", I was referring to what appears to be a small turnout (of 31 voters), as I went on to discuss.