Open Letter to Gilbert Firefighters

by Susan Hicks

To all the fireman who are at the grocery stores trying to convince Gilbert residents that they will lose their jobs if the tax hike does not pass, I would like to inform you of some major facts that four members on the Council, your union, and Town management are not telling you…

  1. The Town of Gilbert has not yet implemented the $17 Million in cuts and cost saving measures that were recommended by the Citizen’s Budget Committee which was created by the Council in the fall of 2009.
  2. The Town of Gilbert has almost $20 Million in a "rainy day" reserve fund.
  3. The Town has projected a huge deficit for the last 4 years, and they have ended up with a surplus.
  4. The sales tax does NOT go into a public safety fund, but goes into a general fund that includes many expenditures including Special Events, Charitable Donations, and Parks and Recreation programs etc. that could be funded first at the council’s discretion. These should be funded and promoted by the Private Sector. This would translate into community involvement from citizens and faith-based groups, and jobs for the private sector who want to capitalize on the Parks and Recreation Programs– that the town currently loses money on. We need to get the Town Government out of the charitable, fun and games, and special event business, to allow the community to "do its thing."
  5. The Town has the money for Public Safety. If you lose your job, it’s because four members of this Council would choose non-essentials over Public Safety. You are no more than the "bargaining tool", the pawn, they are using to convince the citizens of Gilbert to allocate more money to entitlement spending in the name of Public Safety.
  6. If these four members on this council are concerned about dollars, and the projected deficits, why have they not moved the council elections to the fall of this year to share the cost with the state elections? That is thousands of dollars saved. Does a person in office become so callous that thousands of dollars mean nothing? A majority of council members voted not to discuss this issue in the last council meeting. Apparently these thousands mean nothing in saving our Police and Fire Fighters jobs—just the Council Members’ jobs.

"Human beings will generally exercise power when they can get it, and they will exercise it most undoubtedly in popular governments under pretense of public safety." –former U.S. Senator Daniel Webster (1782-1852)