We would never question the depths of their dedication and the admirable courage they all possess and readily display whenever summoned.
We would never doubt their motivation to serve the public, often at their very real inconvenience, peril and sacrifice.
And, we would never begrudge them their level of achievement and standing in their community, and the quality and substance of their being that attracts them to such difficult and accepted duties.
We're referring to our volunteer fire department and what an incredibly valuable resource and sense of pride they are to our community, and whose members are our friends and neighbors.
But, $250,000 for a truck to replace a truck that runs just fine, when the city faces historic budget constraints and dwindling revenues, thanks to a serious population and property tax decllne over the past several years?
You mean $250,000 for a state-of-the-art vehicle that, good Lord willing, may never be used?
You mean $250,000 for a high-tech, space-age vehicle that would be the envy of all other community fire departments of similar size, and probably even much larger?
Yes, we're fully aware of the "professional jealousy" that is rampant as many volunteer fire departments good-naturedly work hard to "one-up" other fire departments for bragging rights regarding numbers, perks, and equipment.
But, $250,000 for a phallic symbol we simply cannot afford?
Two-hundred and fifty thousand dollars?
For a municipality that reportedly has stripped bare its options with a rock-bottom budget and in the near future faces cuts in services and/or personnel, regardless of proposed property tax hikes?
Most of us know there is a vast difference between an ox-drawn cart, a rock star's tour bus, and the USS Enterprise.
Our fire department officials should know that, too.
Last Tuesday night, for some mysterious, and very interesting reason, the Cherokee City Council unanimously adopted a resolution setting 7 p.m. March 11 as the date for a public hearing on the proposition to authorize a Loan Agreement and the issuance of Notes not to exceed $250,000 for the fire department's requested new equipment vehicle.
We pray that residents contact their council members and attend the meeting to protest, and that the Council comes to its senses and stops the madness by then, if not long before.