Archive for Thursday, April 13, 2000

Providing DeSoto with best service possible

April 13, 2000

We believe it is important for DeSoto to have control over its boundaries. However, can it do so affordably while providing the services necessary for its citizens to live safely and comfortably?

In the case of Johnson County's decision to not release parts of Rural Fire District No. 3 that have been annexed into the city of DeSoto, grudgingly, we have to side with the county commission.

Frankly, DeSoto does not yet have the means to provide services to such a large area.

DeSoto officials asked for the detachment last summer and have been waiting for the county's decision. A detachment would have given DeSoto the right to levy property taxes in the area and, consequently, increase its fire protection budget.

But the commissioners denied the request: It said the city doesn't have enough fire-fighting equipment to adequately protect the area.

In addition, the commission said the detachment would cost the rural fire district up to $67,000 next year. The cut in the budget would force the district to raise its mill levy or reduce services.

Neither is an acceptable option.

The city needs to ensure that protection be it police or fire is provided in the best possible manner for all residents. In this case, the city is not able to do that as cost-effectively or efficiently as the county.

The DeSoto City Council, which is proceeding with legal appeals to the county's decision, needs to accept that fact. The annexing of land will ultimately be a good thing for DeSoto, but with more land comes more responsibility. At this point, this city is not able to handle that responsibility.

That's not to say it won't someday. All growth projections indicate DeSoto will someday be able to stand on its own feet. For now, there's no shame in accepting help from someone more able to provide it.

Doing so is what's best for the people of DeSoto.

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