Letters to the Editor

Letter of the Week, Oct. 26-Nov. 1: Dr. Adrian Krieg

Manatee County fire districts overly generous in tax outlays

Originally published on Oct. 29

What happened to Americans?

Once upon a time there was a revolutionary war in which Americans rebelled against their rulers, England, because of the "Stamp Act," which was a tax on paper declared by Parliament in London without the American peoples' approval. The war cry was "taxation without representation." The Masonic Lodge of Boston began the rebellion with the Boston Tea Party.

Fast forward to 2014 and the "East Manatee County fire district proposes tax hike," as we learned in our Sunday paper. The poor suckers who are already paying over $300 per year in fire taxes, and might I be so bold as to point out "without representation" just like in December 1773, remain mute.

We moved to Florida about 15 years ago from New Hampshire where we had a volunteer fire department that raised their own money; the taxpayers got a free service. It was then I found out that Manatee County fire districts are allowed to set the fire tax rate at whatever they deem appropriate, without the people's input.

Not a bad job; progressive salary structure, 12 paid holidays plus birthday, 12 days paid sick leave, six vacation days, plus one bonus day for every five years; full family medical, funded pension (self, county, state) vested rights after 10 years, retirement at 55 or after 10 years, retirement after 25 years at any age, educational incentive pay; (2) median firefighter' salary $40,994 with all benefits up to $60,574.

Thirty-one days off with pay after five years, and if you begin working at 21 years of age you can retire at age 46 with a full pension. Say, no wonder everyone wants to work for government; you can retire at 46 and after 19 years working at the post office and at age 65 have two full pensions.

Dr. Adrian Krieg

East Manatee

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