Wareham Fire District annual meeting takes place today, April 9

Apr 09, 2018

The Wareham Fire District Annual Meeting is set for today, April 9, at 7 p.m. in the Wareham High School auditorium. All registered voters living in the Wareham Fire District may participate.

Officials will ask voters for a hefty budget increase this coming fiscal year for the fire and water departments. The $12.3 million combined budget for the district, which is governed independently from the town, is up $1.6 million from last year, marking a 16 percent increase.

Also on the agenda will be funding requests from fire department officials for a $1.3 million ladder truck, $76,000 pickup truck to support fire response and $85,000 to upgrade the department’s radio infrastructure.

For more information on the meeting, click on the link below.

Comments (22)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 09, 2018 08:11

Andrea answered my question last week about voting method.  Likely it will be a show of hands.  A paper ballot can be requested.  That is how I understood.

 

Can somebody from the district please state the intended voting method for tonight?  How is a paper ballot method requested?  When is that to be requested?  Is it too late to request that for tonight's meeting?

 

I can assure everyone that that people prefer to oppose discreetly.  It is common sense.  I had a conversation with several WFD residents yesterday.  None of which have ever voted at a WFD meeting.  All of which would vote tonight to oppose the extreme spending. None of which feel comfortable voting against out in the open.  Many of us are friends and family with firefighters and WFD staff.  This is a small town.  Openly denying a friend or family member of something that they may perceive as something that keeps them safer at work or allows them to do a better job is an awkward thing to do.  Think about it...

 

Believe it or not, that 1.3 million dollar ladder truck does have merit.  It does keep firefighters safer.  It does increase the ability to rescue and fight fires.  So would installing a sprinkler system in my house and a installing a fire escape at every upstairs window in my house.  But I can't realistically afford that.  It's all about knowing where to draw the line.  Wareham can't realistically afford these things.

 

If there were paper ballots like the selectman/school committee election last week, I can guarantee a totally different outcome!



Posted by: Peaches0409 | Apr 09, 2018 08:28

WBTS, I could not agree more! It's time to do away with the pressure that people feel when voting against anything related to the districts. It should 100% be by paper!



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Apr 09, 2018 10:52

WBTS - Any district voter in attendance can ask during a discussion of a Warrant Article for directions on procedure to request that vote be taken by paper ballot. The procedure is not complicated.

 

Regarding your above statement which I now quote:

 

"I'd speculate that requesting a paper ballot is a complicate thing that's frowned upon and never done."

 

1) Information, rather than potentially misleading and discouraging speculation, is the best route to go. Requesting a vote by paper ballot is not complicated.

 

2) As I stated in a previous comment beneath a different news article, I have seen votes taken by paper ballot at Water District meetings in the past. Your statement  "never done" is incorrect, misleading, and holds the potential of discouraging those who prefer to vote by paper ballot from attending the meeting.

 

 



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 09, 2018 11:40

Andrea - point taken.  I edited out the "never done" sentence.

 

I feel that being the person that asks for a paper ballot during a discussion of a Warrant Article is like stepping out in front of a speeding locomotive.  All the turrets will turn towards that person; worse than just raising a no hand.

 

I'll admit that my interpretation and explanation may not be perfect.  I'll also admit that you are very well versed and experience with these matters and can correct something about everything I express.

 

Gloves off...Bottom line:  The system is flawed and archaic.  Paper ballot should be the only way.  I can personally count seven no votes just from yesterday's discussion that will not attend and will not vote because they will not raise a no hand in front of WFD friends & family.  Nor would any of them be "that person" to request a paper ballot.



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Apr 09, 2018 12:23

WBTS - No one in Wareham has ever been run over by a speeding locomotive or had turrets pointed in their direction because they requested a paper ballot. But I'll bet those who do not want a paper ballot requested at tonight's meeting love the persistence with which you promote a theory that holds the potential of discouraging those who might wish a paper ballot vote to be taken from attending the meeting.

 

I will be at tonight's meeting and will second a motion for a paper ballot if anyone wishes to make such a motion...because I believe that if even one person feels too intimidated, or otherwise uncomfortable to vote by either a voice or hand vote, they should have an opportunity to vote by a paper ballot.

 

I will not however initiate a request for a paper ballot, because I personally do not feel intimidated by voting either by voice or by hand.



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 09, 2018 13:18

Andrea - my intention has never been to promote a theory to discourage.  I find it interesting that you perceive that I am mincing words in that manner.  Frankly, I'm not being that insightful regarding this matter.  Take what I stated at face value. In one way you give me too much credit while in another way you are accusing me of trying to steer people. That's a complicated perception that couldn't be more untrue!  Gee wizz.

 

Another Gloves off...Bottom Line:  We walked into Town Hall last week.  Checked in with the nice ladies.  Voted and we were out the door in 2 minutes.  No long crowded meeting.  Bing-boom-done!  How simple.  How nice.  No hand raising, no requesting ballots, nothing.  Easy & Simple!  Our votes were counted and the selectmen & school committee candidates were chosen.  What a perfect system!

 

Many can't be there for a long meeting tonight due to life's obligations.  But they could spare 5 minutes to run in and vote.  See...see how nice that would be?  Why isn't it?

 

 

 

 



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Apr 09, 2018 14:47

WBTS -Regarding "the perfect (voting) system" that you mentioned. It is not currently a procedural practice of the Wareham Fire District for its Annual Meeting and wishing it would be won't make it so for tonight. That does not mean that Wareham Fire District  property owners should choose not to attend or vote at the meeting tonight.

 

If voters choose not to attend, vote or otherwise participate in tonight's meeting because they think the voting system isn't what it should be, then they lose the opportunity to vote on articles which could raise their taxes significantly.


Regarding the "perfect voting system" which you mentioned in your above comment; the only way that it will ever become the District's voting system is if you, or voters who agree with you, or you and voters who agree with you, work in combination to put forth the necessary effort to change the system.



Posted by: Uptohere | Apr 09, 2018 16:27

Question.... There have been times I wanted to attend meeting and could not, unfortunately tonight is 1 of those nights. Is there absent ballets?  If not, is it possible?



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Apr 09, 2018 22:43

Uptohere, you can attend part 2 to be held April 30th. The budget and a couple articles to go. I think the high school stage has a pest problem, lots of crikets chirping when some detail was asked for by the floor. Lots of great questions and hard work by many to try and get to the bottom of things, no bottom found and it didnt look well. Couple of the big ticket items were voted down.



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 10, 2018 00:12

Andrea, after attending the meeting, I must say that the crystal ball that I used to write my previous comments about this WFD meeting was fairly accurate. First impression was the parking lot.  The pickup trucks were stacked in formation.  Next was where I sat.  I was surrounded by cronies full of comments, sighs, groans, and constant surveillance during each vote that caused discomfort exactly as I predicted.  Then there was the lady that made a motion for paper ballot.  True, she asked for it on all articles and needed to be corrected but it was clear that they didn’t want paper ballot. What was the the deal with the simple yellow card counting?  People around here aren’t known for math skills but geeze that was a mess.  And along the same math skills line, one plus one certainly didn’t equal 2 when it came to understand the salaries...what a misleading fiasco that part was.  In general, the only one that was open and willing to provide info was Andy Reid.  He’s a nice guy.  He answered your questions openly.  The cat had the tongues of the rest of them.  Elusive and expressionless, to say the least.   I was less than impressed.



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Apr 10, 2018 07:44

I agree WBTS, I don't see why a ballot couldn't be passed out and voted during the presentation and then turned in when over or when ready to leave. Votes could be tallied and results determined. It would eliminate any miscounts and confusion. People could vote without fear and do so privately. It would speed up the process by eliminating wasted time taking hand counts. I would also eliminate the voice votes where a decibel level takes precedence over the actual vote.

It was alarming on how unprepared the panel was to answer questions. I think it may be due to fact that they thought all this would roll thru as it has so many times before. I thought on the radio improvement article should have been voted down. Nearly a quarter million dollars once the EMS and Police contribute their share is excessive. There has to be a cheaper alternative. Perhaps using multiple vendors to connect repeaters would allow instant switching between if the primary vendors system were to go down. That's a lot of money for something that seems to need replacing/upgrading often. I also hope the approved vehicle lift can and will be moved to a future new station should it be built. That was a lot of money spent on something that may only be useful to the WFD for a few short years as installed. Should have waited on that one. All in all I do believe that no additional money should be spent until a clear and realistic Master Plan has been established. Wareham cannot and should not be expected to pay for this wild and out of control spending. Things need to be coordinated with the Town so requests can be spaced out to allow the Tax/Rate payer to be able to exist in Wareham without being driven to bankruptcy.



Posted by: rhbinma | Apr 10, 2018 08:35

This was my first meeting attended. And all I can say is wow.



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 10, 2018 10:53

Paper ballots are more accurate for both sides!

 

Prior to last night's meeting,  I presented various scenarios in my comments that warranted the privacy of a ballot.  I was speculating.  Although those scenarios did in fact come to fruition last night from my vantage point, it's still my opinion and can be challenged.

 

Paper ballots are more accurate for both sides!

 

I failed in my speculation to mention accuracy.  Nobody will argue that accuracy was a concern last night.  I was truly amazed at the disorganization and incompetence displayed during the simple counting of yellow cards!  I'm being professional in my wording.  If I wasn't I'd say it was akin to a circus.  How hard is it to count the correct votes?  They didn't even have the mechanical counters that I have seen at Town Meeting.  I have no faith that the counts were accurate.  A tally in a person's head is not something that I trust.

 

Paper ballots are more accurate for both sides!



Posted by: rhbinma | Apr 10, 2018 20:52

I am going to email  everyone on the committee to find out what needs to be done to have paper ballets. Will follow up when I here back.

 



Posted by: Jaime Rebhan | Apr 11, 2018 08:14

Hello!

 

We have heard your concerns here and have been contacted by other voters regarding paper ballots. We'll make some phone calls as soon as we're off deadline and see what we can find out!

 

Best,

Jaime



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 11, 2018 08:30

Thanks Jamie!

 

Paper ballots are a no brainer.  It is hard to believe that such an archaic method is still in use in 2018!

 

Next question, who will count the paper ballots?  The same people that can't count yellow cards?  The wolves have been in the henhouse so long that anything is possible.

 

This needs to be a ballot booth style vote with security and modern electronic counting equipment.  Just like the elections in the Town Hall.



Posted by: rhbinma | Apr 11, 2018 10:14

This is the response I got from the clerk/treasurer of the district. 

Thank you for your interest in the voting process.  Any registered District voter present at a District Meeting has the right to call for a secret ballot.  The request must be made on the floor as each Article is presented.  The Moderator would then ask for a hand count of the voters and if the hand count passes with a simple majority a secret ballot for that Article would then take place.

 

This is what I asked.

I am writing has concerned Wareham voter. There seems to be some disconnect between the community and the district.  From boards I read people are scared to openly vote because they have friends in the district or are scared to vote out of fear a retribution. I would like to know how to get paper ballets done from this point forward. Your timely response is greatly  appreciated.

So has I see from there response they are not willing to do a paper ballet unless its brought up for each article.



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Apr 11, 2018 10:40

For Reason 746 to do away with the district system read above comment.



Posted by: rhbinma | Apr 11, 2018 11:18

For a few thousand  dollars they could buy a system where you get a remote to vote .

 



Posted by: cranky pants | Apr 11, 2018 12:49

There would have to be a $200,000 study on the voting system first, you know how this town does it. Reading everyone's comments and seeing what's going on in the media certainly raises a flag in my head... Who polices those with authoritative positions ?



Posted by: warehamite | Apr 11, 2018 20:36

While I can understand people's concerns about the voting process, I don't think they can print a paper ballot ahead of time, because like town meeting, the article could be changed at the meeting.  How would that work? But let's keep brainstorming!



Posted by: Peaches0409 | Apr 12, 2018 09:02

The could print a paper ballot for each article. Not many changes are made to the articles at the Fire District meetings.



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