2017-02-22 / Opinion

Speaking From The Heart

The discussion over the village proposal to take over control of the Archbold Fire Department, and how the department will be funded, can begin to sound like an annoying insect buzzing in the ears.

The latest round of discussions came at the Monday night, Feb. 20 council meeting.

Andy Brodbeck, Archbold fire chief, put together a new proposal that is comprehensive to the point of exhaustive. It has one goal: so German Township residents who live inside the village pay the same for fire protection as German Township residents who live outside the village.

During the meeting, Bruce Lauber, German Township trustee, balked at the proposal because the township would need to pay more– an estimated 300% more than previous agreements between the two sides.

Then Kevin Eicher, a councilman, weighed in, speaking from his heart, with passion in his voice.

“You may not like it because of the increase, and I know you don’t, Bruce,” Eicher said at the meeting.

“But you must understand it’s not fair for us to suck up what you don’t like.”

Eicher pointed out Lauber’s years as a firefighter, and his own family’s service to AFD. He emphasized his desire for fairness to all.

“I don’t want to see future township trustees and future council members arguing five to 10 years from now over the same thing we’re doing now. It’s not fair to them. It’s not fair to the residents,” he said.

In public meetings, which can sometimes sound like meaningless talkfests, it’s refreshing to hear what someone believes, expressed forcefully, using critical thinking, without shouting or being insulting.

Eicher’s comments remind us the debate is about more than mills or average numbers of runs or percentages based on valuation.

It’s about fairness to those who pay taxes, who depend on government to protect them when they can’t protect themselves.

Well spoken, Mr. Eicher.

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