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Mayor Madrid and Council members: You may have read an article in the U/T a month or two ago about a program the city of Escondido implemented to reduce the cost of firefighting services – more specifically the cost of Emergency Medical Services. I heard a presentation about this program from the two senior Firemen in Escondido last Friday. Their work, like all fire departments, has increasingly shifted from fighting fires to providing EMT services. Escondido’s 2012 calls were:
Escondido realized that since the vast majority of the calls involve Emergency Medical Services and since firemen cost the taxpayers so much more than paramedics do, it would make sense to use Paramedics to do a Paramedic job when possible. That is what they are doing. Escondido estimates savings will be over $2 million/year. The population served by Heartland is a little greater than that of Escondido, so we likely could save at least that much – maybe a little more. La Mesa’s share of the savings could easily be $3/4 million.
$3/4 million would fund 50 Flag Day parades – or put another 5 police officers on the streets – or be a nice start to weaning the City off of the $7 million tax surcharge we pay each year.
If you, the Council, don’t make it your responsibility to see that taxpayer money is spent in an effective but frugal manner – who will? I challenge you tonight to investigate the responsible cost saving program that Escondido has implemented and follow suit. The taxpayers of La Mesa deserve as much from their leaders.