EDITORIAL: Priorities must be evaluated

Ours is not always a perfect system.

There are circumstances within our judicial system that don’t always seem fair, decisions made on international levels that may or may not have been made with all the necessary information at hand and votes on issues within our Congress and Senate that get shot down because of bogus riders or other considerations. That comes with the territory, as no entity has ever achieved perfection.

However, there is one glaring oddity — in this very community — that strikes us as particularly odd: the volunteer fire companies, and their quests for donations to increase efficiency.

This is a calling for people who have the most genuine and sincere motivations of all. They volunteer their time, effort and emotional well-being in an effort to save that which is most important — our lives and our property.

Many have other jobs. Most have family considerations. But a buzz on their pagers or a bellowing of an alarm brings them racing into danger to sometimes put their own lives at risk in an effort to save that of a stranger’s. It’s noble. And it’s pure.

And we’re all better off for having them serve the community in as high a level as they all have.

But when it comes to raising funds, for new buildings or equipment or just basic operational needs, it is the members of the fire companies that we see banging on doors and drumming up coins. Oh, there are a few members of the community who chip in, and the departments’ auxiliaries do a great job, but where is the collective desire of all of us to do our part in the thing that is probably most important — public safety?

Ocean View Town Council Member Roy Thomas said in Tuesday night’s council meeting that the new rental tax in the town is fair because, “These are people that don’t pay tax (in Ocean View). They come in and enjoy our Public Works and Public Safety.”

Well said. But Ocean View and Millville, two towns that benefit greatly from the Millville fire company, have yet to put in impact fees with funds earmarked for the fire department. Millville hopes to when the General Assembly can pass a charter change for the town this winter, but Ocean View never proposed one. Instead, the town will implement a grant fund for emergency services, leaving open the (albeit slim) possibility that the department could receive no money at all. Meanwhile, the Bethany Beach company is raising funds for their new house.

This is a great community that gets behind a cause like no other. This one might be more important than all.