Monday, April 21, 2008

City Hall Should Cut Spending on Social Services

This past January, Florida voters approved Amendment 1 to cut off the unessential funding that has been going to local governments in the last few years. Florida's cities and counties will need to drastically cut back on their spending.

Pensacola's already cash-strapped government is being forced to cut millions of dollars from their budget. Due to the passage of Amendment 1, the city now has less money to spend.

Pensacola's leaders have been forced to cut spending on services that we all receive from the city; some are vital. Police, Parks and Recreation, Community Redevelopment and Public Works Departments are all facing budget cuts.

Pensacola's Fire Department is really feeling the pinch of budget cuts. Fire Chief Frank Edwards tried to keep his chin up at Monday's budget meeting, but he did not seem confident that the Fire Department would still be able to provide the same level of service that they have provided in the past.

Commenting on the Fire Department's budget cuts, Chief Edwards said, "There may be times when we're impacted by this". Could the city's new budget cuts endanger the lives of firemen?

The local firemen's union thinks they will put them in danger. Bob Sumner, a representative from Firefighters Local 707 thinks the Fire Department has faced too many budget cuts in the past, and firefighters have already been put in harm's way. Sumner contends that previous budget cuts led to a fireman's death in 2000. "We killed a fireman", exclaimed Sumner at Monday's budget meeting. Sumner says deeper budget cuts will intensify the danger to firemen.

If budget cuts are endangering the lives of firemen, then it's time to curb all spending until we know that firefighters are safe. It's unfortunate, but charity must end if it threatens to put city employees at risk. City Hall needs to cut back on social service spending.

This spending was not touched during the recent budget cuts. Not cutting back on social service spending is a problem when it puts firemen at harm, and threatens the service level in essential departments.

Not only are firefighters in danger, the citizens of Pensacola could be in danger of receiving poor service if their homes catch on fire. A city can't afford to be charitable if they don't have enough money to keep their citizens safe.

I know it may seem heartless to cut spending on social services, but we need to learn how to stomach the idea of spending less on this expense. Firefighters are in danger and essential services are threatened. We have no choice; we have to cut back on social service spending.

We should not worry about the social service agencies; I think the people of Pensacola will make sure they get by after their budgets are cut. The Amendment 1 tax break will allow some of us to give more money to our favorite social service agencies. If some of us cannot give money, I'm sure we would at least be able to volunteer for them.

We should not worry about social service cutbacks; we will all get through them together.

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