Monday, June 16, 2008

Weekend round-up

The editors of The Blade think that we, the voters of Lucas County, just don't understand tax levies. In this editorial, they say "(t)he third time should be a charm for COSI Toledo."

Yes, two failed levies and they think it needs to be on the ballot again.

"COSI may ask voters again to help fund the museum with a 0.167-mill levy, the same amount as last year. That would be a good move, provided it is backed up with an adequate campaign to educate the public about what's at stake."

You see, we just didn't understand what was at stake when we defeated the two previous levies.

I guess we didn't understand that OUR priorities for spending were more important than theirs - and COSI's. I guess we didn't understand that the management of the facility was lacking in sound financial practices. I guess we didn't understand that the attraction didn't continue to attract attendees because they didn't keep their exhibits current. I guess we didn't understand that such a museum needed to do more to be self-sufficient rather than rely upon eventually turning to taxpayers for support. I guess we didn't understand that Toledo tax dollars were already subsidizing the facility through the payment of utilities. I guess we didn't understand that the financials for the facility showed that it was not sustainable when it was first built. I guess we just don't 'get it.'

But when you consider all these points, I'm of the opinion that the voters are actually smarter than the Blade editors because they chose NOT to give their tax dollars to a non-profit organization that shouldn't ever be on the ballot in the first place.

In the end, The Blade thinks "COSI should give Toledo voters another chance to reconsider the folly of previous levy failures. Maybe a third time will be lucky." COSI should give US another chance??? COSI hasn't done anything to earn another chance from us - and hopefully the Board of County Commissioners will, for a change, heed the will of the voters and tell COSI no when when they ask to put another levy on the November ballot.

***

The Lucas County Republican Party has a new chairman - Jon Stainbrook. He was elected by the Central Committee during their meeting Saturday. Of course, winning the chairmanship is the easy step. Raising the money and following through with all the promises is where the real work begins - and it's much harder to do than it is to say.

***

The City of Toledo, in an anti-business move, took over providing ambulance services and is now getting ready to make their first lease payment on the vehicles. They're saying that they've billed about $1.4 million - as they planned in their original budget. What they don't say is how much they've actually collected. Hopefully city council members will ask about the money actually received as part of the discussion on the payment.

The Fire Department also says that response times have improved. That's because they dispatch an ambulance with the rescue squad, ensuring that the ambulance and rescue squad arrive at almost the same time. Of course, when the private ambulance companies suggested this very same dispatching protocol, the Fire Department objected. You see, if an ambulance with a paramedic arrived before a rescue squad, that paramedic could begin to provide treatment and care - and wouldn't have to turn over the patient to the Fire Department upon arrival. And that just wasn't acceptable to the Fire Department and their union members.

Now that the union members are providing the ambulance services, it's okay to dispatch at the same time, so it's clear that this wasn't really about 'patient care' because they could have accomplished the same 'reduced transport times' by changing their dispatching protocol.

In the mean time, private ambulance companies have laid off employees, reducing the amount of payroll taxes the City collects. I wonder if any council members will think to ask about how much tax revenue the city's lost when they evaluate the 'success' of the ambulance program.

6 comments:

navyvet said...

I am sorry but this is no way to start a day. :(

Cosi...The Blade is as "tone deaf" as the mayor...they just don't get it...

New Republican Chair....I loved the paper's description of some of his followers:
with...tattoos..ponytails...
shaved heads. Pierced ears, lips and eye-brows. Shiny ring thru the septum of his nose...(as opposed to all those other septums?) Also, the blue (untamed) flourescent goatee. Must be awesome to see...

I wonder where they work?

Marvelous....those folk sound like my kind of peeps.....

The paper (ombudsman) indicated there was no problem in listing and researching every shady event in the past of Joanne Wack because she was an executive director...(they missed the time she stepped on a crack in the sidewalk...)

Since JON is now Chairman...and not just an activist...a detailed review of his background would be in order. Might want to check a couple of his friends too. Just for laughs....

BTW, in my 20's I was just about as perfect as everyone else. Glad that there was no "digital" back in those days. :)

Finally...City of Toledo...anti-business...to make the unions happy. NO NEWS THERE!

I am certain that the rest of the day will be better....

Thanx Maggie...

Maggie Thurber said...

sorry to ruin your morning, NavyVet, but I was a bit occupied over the weekend and didn't get in any posts...

As for the new members of the GOP, I welcome them. I don't care what they look like, or where they work, or how many piercings they have...I just want to be sure that they share the core values of the Republican Party - especially when many of the elected officials from our Party seemed to have forgotten them.

I also hope they understand the obligations they've undertaken and that they are willing to do the taskys they've been elected to fulfill.

And, for the sake of the party, I hope they succeed.

Tim Higgins said...

Maggie,

So many target, so little time...

As always, you present a very cogent effective case regarding COSI. I can only hope to add impact to your take with a bit more unusual approach on Wednesday.

As for the changing of the "Republican Guard" (sorry, couldn't reist the pun): In spite of the pot shots by the Blade, I am certainly willing to take a chance. We have so often complained about the "same old thing" in Toledo. Maybe something different will be something good.

As to our ambulance service: I am with you. Not only would I like to hear how much fo the $1.4 million has been collected, but how it relates to the amount of service they have taken over. The original plan called for 40%. Is this too on its annual pace or has it been more? How do the costs relate to the $1.4 million collected? Why are the response rules different with firefighters involved? Will the city be able to take a larger role when they finish bankrupting the private services?

Maggie Thurber said...

Tim - I'll look forward to your Wednesday post.

And perhaps you should contact the city council members and ask them these questions on the ambulance services ... especially because it appears so many of them would never think of these questions on their own...

navyvet said...

Maggie...you are such a positive person...good for you.

I too hope they succeed, but I have been called a doubting Thomas.

Core Values....would be great...hopefully they will drown out the crickets.

Patiently standing by....

DeeDee Liedel said...

Maggie - for a short time, Sylvania Township instituted a fire department transport/ambulance unit (called Medic4) which provided Basic Life Support (BLS) ambulance transportation to the hospital of the patients choosing, with the thought that it would pay for itself plus.

As many predicted, Medic4 did not pay for itself when you take in to consideration ALL of the related costs, not just the marginal costs created by such a service. A 37-page report can be found at Sylvania Township's web page under the Fire Advisory Board that explains the cost analysis made.

Some items of interest include the fact that we collected only 51% of billed services, median collection period was 71 days, and that although we discontinued transport service in January 2007, we are still receiving invoices from our billing company (MBI) for incorrectly billed and collected invoices.

When we discontinued Medic4, we worked with the private ambulance companies and Lucas County EMS to provide the Sylvania community with simultaneous ambulance dispatch from private companies. This gets patients to hospitals quicker, our first responders back in services sooner, and no cost to the taxpayer by having to subsidize a losing transport unit.

Part of the reason we pushed for simultaneous dispatch was that I found out that is the protocol used during extremely cold weather, for the safety of our firefighter/EMTs and patients, for example for car accidents that happen in the winter. If it is used in cold weather, why can't it be used all the time, for everyone? There is not logical reason, which is why we provided simultaneous dispatch to the Sylvania community, which maximizes our resources while providing quality services to our residents, businesses, and visitors.

I'll also note that I made some members of Toledo City Council aware of our study, and offered it for their review so that they would know how Sylvania's experience went, before they started their service, and no one took me up on that offer.

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