To The Editor:

I have always been proud to say I am from Wright City because of the sense of community. We have always come together to ensure our members would thrive. We have consistently worked to support and develop any organization that impacts our community base. At this time, WCFPD is asking for our help.

Because we have top-rated schools, exceptionally low crime rates, and an outstanding community, we are consistently drawing new people. As the community grows, so must our first responder organizations. If we do not pass the upcoming request for a 17-cent increase (per $100 assessed valuation), we will lose the six valuable firefighters who are currently being paid through the “SAFER (Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response) grant.”

Try to imagine a fire in your home and your loved one is trapped inside. The truck rolls up out front – lights and sirens – the two firefighters cannot enter the building until another truck responds from a surrounding district. In the meantime, your loved one is still inside. Imagine standing in your driveway, potentially being held back by police or the responding staff. No one can enter because they do not have backup. We as voters are making the choice to place ourselves in this situation. Additionally, if we choose to staff trucks with only two firefighters, this will place more weight on the shoulders of surrounding districts.

I have heard many comments on the issue of volunteer firefighters. Unfortunately, current family dynamics and financial situations, prevent people from volunteering. Between working multiple jobs and single parent households, volunteering, as a whole, is down across the country. I challenge every person reading this letter to ask themselves to name five people they know who volunteer their time to an organization that would require the skills, education and time commitment that WCFPD would require. I would bet that most people will struggle to come up with one name. The idea that we would be able to rely on volunteers to staff our fire department is not realistic, or responsible.

I, like everyone, would love to not see my taxes increase, but real life says that if we lose our ISO rating, our homeowners insurance is going to increase. According to the agents I have spoken to, my homeowners insurance will increase more than my taxes will if the proposed increase passes. I can give more money to the fire district, or I can give more money to my insurance agent. I prefer to keep my money in town so I can see the return on my investment.

As citizens, we have a choice when we go to the polls. It is our responsibility to understand what we are voting for and the potential result of our voting choices. If you have questions, call the firehouse, or talk to someone who can help you understand what is being asked and why. Have a conversation with your insurance agent about the impact this vote could have on your policy.

I will be supporting Prop S on Aug. 6. No matter your vote, I hope to see you at the polls.

Michelle Heiliger

Wright City

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