I feel that I must comment on the editorial (July 21) regarding Silver Creek and Fredonia's purchase of fire vehicles.
Fire departments just do not purchase apparatus just because they want to. All fire departments are inspected and appraised by the Insurance Service Organization (ISO). Through their inspections several things are evaluated and rated, with apparatus a very important one (age and condition of vehicles is also a very important one), pumping capacity (gallons per minute), etc.
Departments are rated on a scale of 1 (the best) to 9. This rating determines the fire insurance rates for the department's protection area.
Therefore, it is important for fire departments to attain and maintain the highest rating possible to keep the insurance rates lower, thereby saving home owners, renters and businesses on their fire insurance premiums.
As a former commissioner of the New York State Department of Equalization and Assessment I have watched with interest the discussion taking place in Portland regarding the equalization rate and higher taxes and what is being proposed to "fix" the situation.
With due respect, the accusation that the assessor has done something wrong or is not following the law is totally incorrect. Assessors are often the first to be blamed when taxes increase but the real culprit for tax increases are the budgets that are proposed and passed by the municipality of the particular taxing district.
Each time the budget proposed is increased that means the taxpayers will have to pay more unless the community has added more properties to be taxed. If the tax base in that community is not growing or is stagnant then each taxpayer can expect their tax bills to increase unless that municipality decreases the amount of money they need to bring in.
A revaluation of all of the property has been proposed to bring the equalization rate up to 100 percent. If this is done - history tells us that of all the properties in the community revalued one-third will go up, one-third will go down and one-third will stay the same. It might interest the readers to take a look at the equalization rates in some of our communities. They might be surprised at how low many of them are.
Assessing property is a very complicated thing and a very controversial one - nobody likes to pay taxes but everyone wants services. The need to become involved in your community budget process is important.
Country needs revolution
I just wanted to say a few things about our state and country. It seems to me that in Albany, New York City and Washington, the days of Hughie Long have been resurrected. Maybe the whole U.S. of A.
My motto is to err is human, to forgive is just plain stupid.
Mr. George Orwell was right, but just a bit too early ("1984"); Big Brother is watching. Read the book! Maybe the Beatles were right. What this country needs is a revolution.
Also, while I was driving home from West Seneca, there were people along the side of the road with signs saying to impeach President Obama with his picture and an Adolf Hitler mustache drawn on it. Seems fitting don't you think? He can bail out the banks, who won't give you a loan because of your credit rating, but he can't or won't bail out the city of Detroit! What's wrong with this picture?
That's all I have to say about that!
P.S. Let's go Hillary, the next Iron Lady!
CLIFFORD C. BRIGGS,