The Indianapolis Star is reporting that the House Ways and Means Committee will not hear the Fire Merger Bill SB280 eliminating the possibility of a mandated merger of the Marion Co. Fire Departments in forseeable future. House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Crawford had supported such legislation last year when Mayor Bart Peterson was in office, but has now changed his mind after reading the Kernan-Shepard report. He now thinks that any attempts at any type of township consolidation should occur for all 92 counties, be it fire department, assessors etc.
"I don't think we need to move county-by-county. I think we need to wait until next session, when hopefully we deal with all 92 counties and there's uniformity on consolidations," he said.
So my question is this:
Is he that stupid or is he just playing out partisan politcs?
All counties are not equal in their needs and capabilities. Let's compare two counties.
The first county we'll call Marion. Marion is an urban county with a high population density. Each fire department has multiple stations throughout their service areas. Merging these departments would not invovle great distances or logistical problems.
Let's look at the second county which I'll call Clay. Clay is a rural county with a low population density. The county seat, Brazil, has a professional fire department. The rest of the county is served by volunteer departments which are not paid. Clay is long county and consolidation would be a logistical nightmare.
Clearly these two counties are not the same. So why does Rep. Crawford think they can be treated the same?